Wild Empathy

Wild Empathy
immersive art about Pacific northwest ancient trees and old growth forests, 2018-ongoing
website: wildempathy.org

The Wild Empathy project creates immersive multimedia experiences for urban audiences, in order to raise awareness about the unique features of local old growth forests, leading to a sense of wonder and care for their protection.

British Columbia (BC) is known for its wilderness and lush green forests. Our intact forests with old-growth trees play a crucial part in the province’s natural ecologies, and they contribute to the health of the planet. Old trees take in vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere because of their growth rate that accelerates with age, they provide rich sites of biodiversity unlike newer trees, and they function as crucial hubs in the below ground networked mycorrhizal activities of the forest. But extensive logging, human development and climate change have reduced our wild spaces, and now threaten the future of our intact forests and old-growth trees. The Wild Empathy team is working to raise awareness of the value and irreplaceability of these ancient trees and forests through research and creation of immersive art for public display.

Dr Julie Andreyev, principle investigator, Emily Carr University
Dr Maria Lantin, co-investigator, director of the Basically Good Media Lab, ECU
Tom Cummins, Director of Exhibits, Telus World of Science
Simon Overstall, sound production, composer and computational aesthetics
Damien Gillis, independent documentary filmmaker
Dr David Baar, independent computer scientist
Dr Deirdre Brink, independent biologist
Lorenz Jimenez, independent photographer and videographer
Sean Arden, research technician in the Mixed Reality Lab, ECU
Olivier Leroux, VR cinematographer, Impact VR
Alonso Benavente Fortes, project staff, ECU
Alex Hass, research associate, Basically Good Media Lab, ECU

ECU Research Assistants:
Mana Hairichian Saei
Cara Jacobsen
Sam Street
Keira Madsen
Leanne Plisic
Gina Mae Schubert
Edward Madojemu
Emma Baldwin
Kyla Gilbert-Heaney
Michael Fowler
Vanessa Wong
Chloe Brumwell
Arian Jacobs
Jess Spaude (BCIT)

Supported by: 
Connection Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2019
SSHRC Institutional Exchange Grant, ECU, 2019
Gillespie Design Research Grant, ECU, 2018 and 2019
Basically Good Media Lab, and the Mixed Reality Lab, ECU