In the Eyes of the Animal is the latest installation by Marshmallow Laser Feast, commissioned by the AND Festival and set in Grizedale Forest, the Lake District forest in the UK. The project takes visitors on a fascinating journey that allows them to fly above the forest canopy, come face-to-face with hi-definition critters and embody various animals as they traverse the Grizedale landscape.
The project was created as a feature of the AND Festival using learnings gained from Project Daedalus, a Nesta-funded research project aimed at investigating the creative potential of drones and aerial 360º cameras.
This VR Headset Lets You Experience Nature Through Animal Eyes
Marshmallow Laser Feast’s VR headsets aren’t meant for the living room, but rather the middle of the forest. Resembling round diving helmets with viewports of moss, they let you experience the forest through the eyes and ears of animals when placed over your head. This, it turns out, is trippier than it seems.
Dubbed “In The Eyes Of The Animal,” participants are capable of experiencing the forest, just as some of the native animals do. Since the likes of foxes, birds, and forest deer see things in different wavelengths and fields of vision than we do, “In The Eyes Of The Animal” uses VR to mimic that experience. In addition to letting you see the forest through an animal’s eyes, Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) also leverages binauraul sound design to put you in an animal’s ears. Participants can even “feel” the sounds of the forest thanks to Subpac, a wearable subwoofer.
Virtual reality allows you to see the world through the eyes of an animal
A project called “In the Eyes of the Animal” produced by Abandon Normal Devices (AND) and Marshmallow Laser Feast will enable audiences to encounter England’s forests through an immersive virtual reality experience, told by the inhabitants of the forest. The project is a speculative short story revolving around the life-cycle of local forest creatures. A human seeing with animal vision is still very much in the realm of science fiction, but advances in virtual reality technology can mimic how it is to see through the eyes of other species. Last month at the AND Festival in Grizedale Forest, visitors were invited to put on Oculus Rift virtual reality helmets and backpacks to experience a 360-degree view of the forest as seen by dragonflies, frogs, and other creatures. The helmets gave participants an imagined perspective of what the animals see, while vibrations from the backpack provided further virtual reality immersion.