Project H.E.A.R.T.

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Project H.E.A.R.T., trailer video for a virtual reality art game, stereo sound, 2017


Project H.E.A.R.T. is a biosensor-driven, virtual reality-based, critical art game developed in collaboration with Canadian artist Erin Gee. A critique on popular "militainment" shooter video games, the artists invites VR participants to experience the work while manipulating their excitement levels in order to influence a holographic pop star performance on a virtual battlefield. The goal is to manage your enthusiasm in order to successfully direct the holographic avatar, Yowane Haku (a Hatsune Miku derivative) in a "combat therapy" mission, locating the soldiers 'in need of moral support' and inspiring them with song to continue in the chaos of the battlefield. Your positivity and energy drives the pop music forward as the soldiers battle not only against a group of enemy soldiers, but also against their own lack of confidence and rising anxieties.

The dialogue and interactions of the work are intended to highlight the limits of technologically mediated empathy and sincerity in VR, which are often championed as the new frontier of interaction in virtual contexts. Who this war is for or against is left intentionally vague. The colorful landscape of the game is built from photogrammetric processes taken from geopolitically resonant sites found on Google Maps, creating a dreamlike background for dialogue and self-help on quotidian struggles as one manages their emotional states to continue onward in their quest. The official website for Project H.E.A.R.T. can be found here.

This project is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, supported by the centre for Technoculture Art and Games (TAG), with equipment provided by AMD. Comissioned by John G. Hampton and Maiko Tanaka as part of Worldbuilding at Trinity Square Video, an exhibition of projects in which selected artists were invited to respond to the philosophical, ethical, and physical conditions of 'the virtual' by creating new work using virtual reality technologies. More information on Worldbuilding can be found here.



click images below for high-res stills of gameplay