Can we create empathy in our community for our planet through educational AR?
An unprecedented experience launched this morning at the Singapore ArtScience Museum, the result of collaborative work between WWF, Netflix, Google and Phoria. We attended the private preview and have the privilege of sharing this experience with you.
The launch opened with a specialist panel discussing the purpose and making of the experience that has taken a total of 4 years, from idea to film, to technology development and installation.
We heard the passion in making conservation more than just a conversation from Kim Stengert Chief, Strategic Communications and External Relations for World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore; it's alarming to know that since the 1970s we have lost 60% of wildlife populations while roughly half of all surveyed people do not understand the relationship human health and future has to wildlife and habitat conservation.
The gap will be greater as populations increasingly live in urban environments, disconnected from nature and our reliance on it for food, medicine and life, something which Miguel de Andrés-Clavera, Head of Creative Technology of Google APAC hopes to bridge through bringing nature to the city dwellers. AR paired with incredible resolution IMAX-style projections and spatial soundscapes generates a more immersive experience whereby the spectator becomes an actor in taking care of the planet. The visuals are taken from Our Planet, an eight-part series from the creators of the award-winning series Planet Earth, in collaboration with Silverback Films and WWF, that showcases the planet's most fragile and spectacular habitats, using the latest in filming technology for a new eye on earth. We got to see a behind the scenes of how the filming of ice melting in Greenland was done, and appreciate the time, patience and boldness of the teams who waiting weeks for the perfect shot and get so close they are just metres away from falling ice caps.... A risky business for the passionate people only and a reminder that nature is the hardest of models. Had they run out of time for that specific moment to happen, they'd have had to wait the following year to return and try again.
The series Our Planet comes out today to the public on Netflix, of which the Vice President of Communications, Jessica Lee, explained is an incredible way to spread the message to a maximum audience. Much more so than on a TV channel or cinema, as Netflix enables viewing on demand, forever.
The installation took 9 months of work with the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, represented at the event by Executive Director Honor Harger, and in an effort to make this the most scalable exhibition, the engineering team at PHORIA, under CEO Trent Clews-de Castella, worked hard to make it a modular installation that could pop-up anywhere in the world. Compared to the initial plan, they reduced their material consumption by over 60% until they ended up with a compact red box that contains all the flat-packed elements, ready to send for a new home.
The REWILD Our Planet Experience
It started off with a presentation of the different types of wilderness we could explore through the experience, illustrated by the projection on the wall and simultaneously on the mini floating rotating planet that suddenly appeared on my device. We could only go in gr