The world’s largest animal rights organization hopes VR’s immersive capabilities can finally put animals and humans on equal terms.
With over 6.5 million active members and supporters spread across the globe, PETA, or the “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” animal rights organization is the largest in existence. According to PETA’s Mobile Clinics Division, in 2017 the massive organization spent a whopping $57,325,933 on just its outreach programs alone, spaying as well as neutering 13,250 cats and dogs in the process.
Whatever your opinion of the association and their methods may be, that’s still an impressive amount of resources being dedicated towards the better treatment of animals. This is due in large part to PETA’s willingness to adopt new methods and technology in order to spread their cause. Whether it’s a series of controversial and risque promotional campaigns designed specifically to stir-up conflict, or an official video game for the Nintendo Switch, the organization is no stranger to the “out of the box” advertising.
Keeping in tune with this unique mentality, PETA has now thrown its hat into the VR ring with an official VR experience designed to leverage the technologies immersive capabilties to help you better empathize with our furry, four-legged brethren. The best way to go about this you ask? By putting you face to face with a talking rabbit in horrifying environments of course!
“What if we could have a conversation with an animal,” spoke PETA co-founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk. What if the animal would ask us why we lock him or her up, why we eat them or turn them into clothing? For the first time, humans and animals meet on equal terms to have a conversation that will open people’s eyes and hearts.”
Developed by PETA Germany in direct partnership with both digital agency Demodern and creative agency Kolle Rebbe, Eye to Eye puts users, well, “eye to eye” with a talking rabbit as the welcoming creature begins engaging in friendly conversation. This innocent chat takes a slightly dark turn however your new friend, or “Jack” as I referred to him, begins delving into the concept of “freedom” while simultaneously transporting us everywhere from a serene, riverside forest, to a traumatizing slaughterhouse.
A real-time VR dialogue system provides unique discussions between users and our four-legged friend, resulting in different locations supported by dynamic music and binaural sound design provided by German Wahnsinn.
“The rabbit will surprise you with real emotions and empathy. The project plays with its users’ expectations, and it will set new standards about what’s possible in virtual worlds,” spoke Andreas Brunsch, Kolle Rebbe’s Executive Creative Director Digital, in an official release.
“This project does not only show what is visually and technologically possible in virtual reality, but also the opportunities that lie in this immersive medium for storytelling and story-doing,” added Alexander El-Meligi, Demodern’s Managing Partner and Creative Director.
PETA will celebrated the release of Eye to Eye at this years re:publica internet and technology conference in Berlin and is now on a world-wide tour via traveling mobile VR installations.