About Vestige: Memory Phone
Arduino, Max MSP, Old Phones
Vestige is a multi-narrative room-scale virtual reality documentary that allows you to piece together past memories and come to the shocking realization of a lost loved one’s death. Every viewing is a different journey.
Created by NSC Creative (the immersive storytelling studio), it's a deeply emotional experience. NSC Creative commissioned us to design and build something that would build on the themes and emotions of their amazing story at its World Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2018.
Tucked away in a corner is a wooden phone booth complete with a rotary phone where you can record your own memories of grief for others to hear. It’s like an audio message in a bottle. And any interested passersby can pick up one of the dangling white handsets at the installation to hear a story from another person who’s also lost someone. All of their memories, even as I write this, are waiting on the other line, playing on loop, not knowing who might pick up.
VR experiences benefit from the atmosphere that surrounds them, the feelings that are conjured as you put the headset on. That's what makes them truly immersive experiences - making you forget the world outside. The best ones are where you leave the experience feeling like a different person.
Virtual Becomes Real
In the film, the main character speaks to you via an orange rotary phone. We rewired the actual phone from the film, and used Max MSP to continue the film's dialogue in the real world, asking the visitor to leave their own message of loss, inspired by what they just experienced.
People queueing to view Vestige, as well as passers-by, see multiple phone handsets dangling from the main installation. Messages that have been left after viewing are played on a loop, setting the emotional atmosphere for other visitors before they view.