During the Second World War, Camp Amersfoort was one of the most terrible places in the Netherlands. Now, it is a place to commemorate, reflect upon, and contemplate the deceased. Would it be possible to inform visitors, yet also use virtual reality to make them aware of the way they handle moral choices?
YIPP created a profound VR interactive, designed to be experienced as a group. The concept by Maike Olij and Tinker allows visitors to undergo dilemmas that go beyond good versus evil. How are you influenced by peer pressure, authority, trust, and (un)availability of reliable information? A special feature is how YIPP recreated the phys-ical space in 3D, providing an immersive and interactive experience. Another innovation is being able to interact in virtual reality with this many players at once. The public was involved at a very early stage and extensive testing was carried out to ensure the sus-tainability and stability of this ambitious project.
What were the deliverables?
• 30-minute interactive multi-player VR experience for 7-16 people
• Photographic monument - database featuring Camp Amersfoort prisoners
• Back-end system allowing museum employees to operate the VR experience
Visitors descend into the pavilion towards the museum presentation of memories by walking through some of the rare remnants of the original camp. Here, they are confront-ed by ten large black-and-white portraits, giving the experience a human and emotional touch. On a touchscreen, visitors can look through the entire database of ex-inmates and assign a spot within this photographic monument to a loved one or stranger.
The temporary exhibition leads into a dark, futuristic setting with space for 16 players. The groups starts with an introduction, answering questions about their own morality. Then a museum employee starts the VR-experience using the touchscreen. In an ab-stract, surreal setting, participants are shown ever-more personal, moral dilemmas by news reader Winfried Baijens. The direction their eyes look, determines whether to help a person being verbally assaulted in the street.
Afterwards, the group discusses the interactive experience with the museum employee. Which choices did you make? What does that say about you? How does this relate to what happened here? Once visitors return to ground-level, they can reflect on their expe-rience while walking around the peaceful nature surrounding the camp.
Would you like to know more about Camp Amersfoort or have a similar project in mind? Please get in touch with Wouter van der Zouwe.
Credits: Photography by Mike Bink / Video by Joris Verleg for Tinker imagineers.