Storytellers in Wonderland: On telling stories with AR and VR

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As the concept of the metaverse and the future of VR and AR are being discussed ever more frequently, we decided to ask what such innovations mean for storytellers and explore the idea of creating stories with augmented and virtual reality technologies. We began by asking ourselves a series of questions. Can we read in VR? Can an opera take place in a virtual environment? How would you feel about becoming the protagonist in a VR documentary about death? How can we surprise VR gamers? Can we use VR as an educational tool? Or, how will actors feel when acting in a real-time VR show? 

We were inspired by works such as AR stories in which you become one of the protagonists (e.g. Wonderscope), VR experiences in which spoken and written word plays an important role (e.g.The Chalk Room) and VR poetry (e.g. The Water Cave) and VR experiences that blend spoken poetry with dance (e.g. VR Nightsss).  We looked at AR novels (e.g. The Ghostkeeper’s Journal & Field Guide), AR comics (e.g. Modern Polaxis), VR theatre and opera (e.g. The Under Presents: The Tempest).

We dived into performances that blend VR with real, corporeal interaction between the performer and spectator (e.g. Draw Me Close), holographic theatre (e.g. Chronicle Of Light Year) and live augmented reality glasses performances (e.g. Verrat der Bilder), as well as AR and VR games (e.g. Pokémon Go! or Virtual Virtual Reality). We were also interested in VR experiences that can be used for therapeutic purposes (e.g The Wayback), VR and AR documentaries (e.g. The Waiting Room), VR and AR literary adaptations (e.g. Metamorphosis VR) or VR literary archives (e.g. Digital Fiction Curios). 

Driven by our initial  questions and the projects that have inspired us, we began to look for articles on the use of AR and VR in fiction and non-fiction, poetry, journalism, theatre, movies, and games as well as articles that explore AR and VR as tools to promote existing works or as alternatives for live social events (e.g. face-to-face meetings with authors). 

Our call for articles has had a tremendous response, which – as we guess – proves that it is a perfect moment to reflect on innovating with story using  VR and AR technologies. During the next few months our authors will ask questions about  whether VR/AR can be considered a literary platform, share their thoughts on how to successfully implement this technology in theatre and explore the use of IA in creating VR experiences. We will start with some inspiring articles on using VR in theatre (you will read about creating an immersive musical, “immersical”). Our authors will also ask about using VR to create poetry, analyse AR-literature and explore the role of VR technology for literary archives. Others will reflect on empathy in VR documentaries and ask whether you can be a real witness in VR. 

We hope you feel immersed and enjoy the articles. 

The Writing Platform Editors


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