Virtual Reality Innovations Again Turned Heads at SXSW
Crowds flocked to see what’s next in this emerging medium.
During her Convergence Keynote talk at SXSW 2018, immersive journalism pioneer Nonny de la Peña described how a witness to the fatal beating of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas’ by U.S. Border Patrol officers in 2010 came into de la Peña studio to be part of a piece based on video and audio that she and another witness had captured on the scene.
“I also brought her into a motion capture suit, so that she could reenact what she did that night with her body — ‘I was walking along, I was looking over the thing, I was filming, I was recording,’ ” de la Peña said, demonstrating each action physically herself. “She was there telling her story with her body as much as her words.”
De la Peña founded the Emblematic Group and has been called the godmother of virtual reality. Emblematic’s immersive journalism has taken viewers to Greenland to witness the drastic effects of climate change, into solitary cells, and to Guantanamo Bay. An overflow crowd came to see her describe the work behind their productions and talk about how immersive journalism gives the viewer — literally — a whole new point of view.