Researchers create an immersive experience to cultivate empathy

An urban forest in Burnaby, B.C. filled with 1,308 old trees is the focal point for Emily Carr University’s Branching Songs project. Equipped with audio and video recording technology, the researchers capture the essence of the forest and produce an immersive experience through virtual reality, 360 photography, soundscapes and more. But, this particular forest of red cedars and alder trees is on the chopping block due to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Through creating a unique multi-sensory experience, Branching Songs is cultivating empathy for old trees and kinship with the non-human realm. A deeper connection with wild spaces including urban forests can drive action to protect the integrity of remaining intact ecosystems. The Branching Songs project is a part of a larger project developed in 2018, the Wild Empathy project, that “aims to raise awareness about the unique features of local old-growth forests, leading to a sense of wonder and care for their protection.” 

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels/Canva

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