interaction designer, creative technologist
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Let Me Understand Your Language (VR, Storytelling)

Let Me Understand Your Language

Digital Storytelling and Virtual Reality in Culture Preservation

The design and development of the concept reflecting on my thesis research
 

Imagine living in a world with nothing else but cold, concrete buildings,

 
 
 

In the modern world where mass media accelerates everything from the pace of our daily lives to the expanding of technologies. A lot of other valuable things are getting lost in the process, traditions and culture of ethnic minorities are in the front line of vanishing among other things.

 

Like many other vernacular building in the world, bamboo house in my hometown is also disappearing

What is bamboo house?

It’s a kind of stilt house that uses bamboo or wood from the local area as the main construction materials. It is the traditional dwelling of the Dai傣(Tai Lu in Enligh) ethnic minorities in South Asian, the most typical bamboo house are found in Xishuangbanna, southern China.

The structures are designed to suit the hot and humid weather in the river valleys to avoid floods, snakes and other beasts. They are well ventilated damp-proof.

Bamboo house is not a single case, it is an example, just like many other traditional buildings or cultures in the world that are vanishing.

 Dai village near Menghai in 1998

Dai village near Menghai in 1998

 the same valley, 2008

the same valley, 2008

The traditional bamboo house is vanishing due to different reasons. Below are images from the same village in 1998 and 2008, almost all bamboo house are gone in just 10 years.

 

LET ME UNDERSTAND YOUR LANGUAGE is a proof of concept project, which provides a possible solution to change the status quo that may lead to the disappearance of some cultural values. It’s a reflection of the research into the value of minority culture, the cause of the culture disappearance,

 
 

Project Overview

 

About

Let Me Understand Your Language is an interactive storytelling experience in which you can explore different stories by walking and interacting with objects in two spaces - a traditional bamboo house and a modern concrete house at the same time . 

It gives a direct comparison between the two houses through interaction. As the stories unfold, you will have a better picture of the lifestyle and customs in Bamboo House comparing to a modern one. The stories are all around the objects, but they all tied back to the relationships between family members.

Keywords

Digital Storytelling, Non-linear Story, Experience Design, Virtual Reality

Culture Preservation, Ethnic culture, Folklore, Vernacular Architecture

Tools

Maya, Unity 3D, Oculus Rift, Photoshop

Project Info

PLATFORM  Oculus Rift VR

ROLE  Researcher, Experience Designer, VR Developer, 3D Artist

YEAR  2017

SPECIAL THANKS TO  Aim, Chuck Kuan, Yumeng Wang, Fame Nitcha Tothong

Exhibitions

SPECTRUM - MFADT 2017 Thesis show in Parsons School of Design

Game for change 2017

NYC Media Lab Summit

 
 
 
 

DESIGN GOAL

To preserve the culture, the key is not actually preserving or representing it, but to draw the attention of the locals attract their interest to their unique culture.

The goal of the project is leveraging the power of VR - emerging technology to document, share and extend the culture of Dai. To empower and help them reshape the ethnicity, strengthen the identity.

 
 
 

Real life experience into Traditional Bamboo house and a shift of experience and identity

It sets you in the environment where you will be able to see two different kinds of houses: a traditional bamboo house, but when turn around, you can view the modern concrete house on the opposite side.

 
 

Stories behind objects

In both houses, you will encounter different objects, and there are narrated stories behind each object.

It’s not just an immersive experience, it’s also an environment where you will know the real stories from the local Dai people, the unique customs and traditions.

 
 

End