A team from Art-A-Hack™ 2018 Special Edition — City University of New York

Team members:

  • Lisa Russell
  • Ainsley Burrows
  • Brian Sandilands
  • Debbie Deas
  • Ellen Lo
  • Kira Davies
  • Lerenzo Malcom
  • Tarik Mohamed
  • Zishan Ahmed

The Another World team created an inventive and engaging virtual reality film, which combined elements of 360-video and constructed virtual graphics. They call their project Climate Hax.

The team pose for a photograph during filming
The team pose for a photograph during filming

The project is based on research which predicts that by the year 2100, parts of planet Earth may become so hot that they are no longer habitable by humans. Climate Hax responds to this by exploring the frightening reality that corporations may start developing human resettlement opportunities to space stations in the future.

The project is part science fiction, part socio-political commentary, and is seen by team members as a form of climate activism.

The team's presentation at the 2018 showcase

Before entering the experience, users are asked to submit their DNA with a cotton swab. After putting on the VR headset, visitors are greeted by the CEO of Space Station Apiary and invited to visit a state-of-the-art space installation.

As they take their virtual tour, which as created using created using Unity, the experience is abruptly interrupted. The following scenes see climate hackers breaking into the “tour” experience, with their crucial and existential slogan: “It’s not too late.”

A screenshot of the VR experience
A screenshot of the VR experience

The team was led by Emmy-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell, who has been producing films and curating artistic performances with UN agencies for the past 15 years. In 2015, to align with the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, Russell produced a poetry-based video called Mother’s Cry.

The film had an online premiere with Slate Magazine and went on to screen at the United Nations and 30 international film festivals.

Finding ways to engage new audiences is key to Russell’s thinking: “Climate change is such an abstract concept to many people so producing creative content in a variety of genres - films, VR, poetry - is necessary to push the conversation and mobilize a response,” she writes. “I chose this sci-fi, socio-political concept for our project because I think it will attract a wider audience and my team was so supportive and invested.”

Climate Hax

The team was comprised of video experts, VR technologists, performers and 3D designers. An actor was called in for the CEO role with the team as support cast.

In the 4-weekend incubation period, the team produced a proof-of-concept experience, setting the stage for further development. Going forward, the team plans to finalize the demo and submit to VR for Good programs.

The team shows their work during the final presentations
The team showing their work during the final presentation