#1157: Capturing the Digital Culture of a Virtual Help Desk for the Elderly in “New Update Available – Version 2.1”

New Update Available – Version 2.1 is a VR installation piece that blends contemporary audio documentary recordings of computer help sessions for the elderly, but then recreates these characters in VR within a speculative future where elders gather together within a virtual space in Metaverse with avatars in all in order to get their weekly computer questions answered.

It’s a unique approach of capturing a segment of digital culture that asks the user to reflect upon a time in the future when they may need help getting their own technology questions answered. The experience takes place over a single session as people log on and eventually log out at the end, and so the narrative structure is more about documenting the communal process and relationship dynamics within this community that is recontextualized by setting the time in the distant future. A fun dimension of this piece is being able to watch the activities of a couple of peers in this help session as they relive their nostalgic moments of Internet culture, which happens to be the bleeding edge of digital culture today. I had a chance to unpack this experience with director Jeroen van Loon at IDFA DocLab 2022.

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality