Guardian reveals first virtual reality project '6x9' to give viewers a taste of solitary confinement
The Guardian has unveiled its first virtual reality (VR) video, giving viewers the opportunity to experience solitary confinement via an interactive virtual segregation cell.
The film has been designed to highlight the psychological and sensory deprivation associated with long-term solitary confinement for the thousands of people who have experienced it first-hand around the world, with an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 being kept in such conditions in the US alone.
Created in collaboration with content studio The Mill, '6x9' places the viewer in a CGI cell, the layout of which has been inspired by a range of prisons throughout the US.
The video is fully interactive, and almost video-game like in the sense that it allows users to zone in on objects within the cell to trigger stories told via a voiceover. The Guardian recorded the accounts of seven former inmates who were in solitary confinement for between one and eight years, to give viewers an insight into what it's like to live in extreme isolation.
Academic psychologists Dr Terry Kupers and Dr Craig Haney who have studied the effects of solitary confinement for decades, were also involved in the project.
'6x9' was produced with Google Cardboard in mind, and is available to download on both iOS and Android. The trailer can be viewed in full above.
The Guardian joins the Huffington Post as the latest publisher to step into the VR arena; the AOL-owned media owner announced earlier this week that it's set to work with LA-based VR firm RYOT to "reimagine journalism".