The LGBTQ+ VR Museum won the inaugural Tribeca Immersive New Voices Award as it curated a number of really touching virtual objects, art, and stories from LGBTQ+ people. Antonia Forester started the project after discovering that there was not a physical LGBTQ+ museum that she could visit in the UK, and so she turned to her skills within VR development, production, and direction to create a virtual LGBTQ+ VR Museum in collaboration with VR developer Thomas Terkildsen.
I spoke with Forester at Tribeca to get more context about her journey into VR, the process of creating and curating the museum, and some of the emotional reactions she was receiving at Tribeca. It takes anywhere between 30-60 minutes to see everything in the museum, and I found that were some objects and stories that really hit me emotionally.
Overall, I left the experience with a much better understanding about various themes of identity, shame, acceptance, rebellion, and hope, but also normal human experiences that went beyond the LGBTQ+ specific themes. Forester’s allowed each LGBTQ+ subject to select any object or theme they’d like without any restrictions, and so the end result reflected the full breadth of human experience, and allowed visitors to hopefully find some stories they could identify with and related to regardless of their own identity. I found the LGBTQ+ VR Museum to be a very emotionally-evocative experience that shows the power and potential of designing virtual spaces filled with individual stories that can tell a larger collective story that goes beyond any one singular narrative.
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