The Waiting Room VR trailer -2019
The lynchpin of The Waiting Room VR piece, is a 9 min durational 360 take, a reconstruction of my last session of radiotherapy, which marked the end of nine months of breast cancer treatment. The 360 single take captures the world outside of my body, the clinical space in which I am treated. The user finds themselves in an intimate and unexpected role of bystander. They witness the fears, vulnerabilities and frustrations of a year dealing with the ‘Cut, Poison and Burn’ approach to breast cancer.
This experience is counter balanced by the CGI journey inside my body. Working with 3D artists, we have bought to life the medical imaging I’ve collected though out treatment. Cancer cells, CT scans , mammograms and ultrasound provide a 3D portrait of my body from the inside, out. The user can marvel at the beauty and fragility of my heart, of my lungs and my cancer cells as they split and multiply without emotion or reason. Within this multi platform project, I embraced the challenge of telling my story in the contrasting mediums of ‘flat film’ and spatial storytelling. In the latter, I explored affect, narrative and presence design in VR exploring how users can experience and witness my story as an “embodied visitor”
The Waiting Room begins with a personal journey but as cancer affects one in two of us over the course of a lifetime, it also tells a very universal story. Moving beyond sentimentality and survivor/victim binaries, the project disrupts the objectification of the medical gaze and reminds the audience of the person behind the diagnosis.
The Waiting Room VR project premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival. It was also selected for IDFA in November 2019, where it won the IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling The Waiting Room: VR was commissioned by the Virtual Realities Immersive Documentaries Encounters project; a collaboration between Watershed, the University of Bristol, UWE Bristol (University of the West of England) and University of Bath, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Waiting Room film and VR project will tour festivals, exhibitions and hospitals throughout 2019 – 20.