Launched in late 2016, the Family Reunions Project produces “VR Postcards,” which are virtual reality experiences that are exchanged between undocumented immigrants and their families abroad. These postcards capture the lived experiences of participants in fully immersive, highly interactive ways. Our current initiatives focus on producing a series of VR postcards as well as providing individuals the tools and equipment they need to create their own virtual reunions.
When shared with family members, our VR postcards allow undocumented folks to step into the lives they left behind and feel present with loved ones across borders. This ability to be present across borders is precisely what immigration laws strip from undocumented immigrants and their families that are prohibited from visiting the U.S.
VR, however immersive, is not a solution to family separation. Our current immigration system causes unnecessary pain to millions who are separated from loved ones and left with no options to change their undocumented status. As politicians and pundits work to demonize this vulnerable population, it is more important than ever for narratives that provide a nuanced explorations of migration to be made available to the public.
VR is hailed for its ability to transport, but the high cost and other barriers to entry ensure the technology is not being put to use by the communities that have the most to gain from the medium. We propose that VR technology can be used to connect the world, rather than isolate it.
Your support will aid us in:
- covering production costs for new family reunions.
- producing a VR series to be distributed publicly. The series will consist of postcards and participants’ reactions to seeing their loved ones.
- establishing a program that will enable individuals to create and share their own stories in VR. This program will include technical tools and guidance as well as equipment loans and staff support.