Virtual reality can be a powerful tool for understanding each other

Virtual Reality is a work in progress, says Sandy Cioffi, and she outlines exciting ways VR is being used to experience “the other,” to virtually “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

Artists as using immersive media, to create new narratives that would allow you to put on a high-tech headset and feel what it’s like to float down the Amazon river, experience life as a different gender, or scatter in the wake of destruction on a Syrian street. With examples of some of the most exciting work going on in this new media, Sandy argues that VR can provide a seismically new way to understand ourselves and, in the end, give us a greater understanding of what it is to be human. Sandy Cioffi was the Director of SIFFX, the Seattle film festival’s celebration of virtual reality and immersive filmmaking and is currently director of the New Media and Virtual Reality X Fair coming in 2018. As a filmmaker, Sandy has worked with human rights organizations in global hot zones and has worked extensively with Hate Free Zone (now One America) producing films about treatment of immigrants post-September 11th. In 2005-2008, Sandy traveled to the volatile Niger Delta in Nigeria to film “Sweet Crude,” documenting conditions and interviewing the region’s key stakeholders, including leadership of the armed resistance movement. She has been active in political advocacy for the Delta’s people, appealing to media, U.S. legislators, international diplomats, and NGOs. Sandy has worked as an artist-in-residence at many middle and high schools in Washington State and through the mentor/apprentice film program at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. She was the founder and Director/Chair of Film + Media at Cornish College of the Arts. Currently, Sandy is directing a non-fiction media project with CREA, a feminist human rights organization. She is the co-founder and Creative Director of the start-up fearless360º creating immersive media and education events around the world. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Sandy Cioffi

Seattle-based film and video artis

Sandy Cioffi is a Seattle-based film and video artist. She has produced and/or directed several independent films, including the critically acclaimed Sweet Crude, Crocodile Tears, Terminal 187 and Just Us. Full bio


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