Alyssa K. Loh

  • Nonny de la Peña, Kiya, 2015, VR video, color, sound, 8 minutes.


    IN 2015, filmmaker Chris Milk gave a TED talk where he dubbed virtual reality “the ultimate empathy machine.” The idea—and phrase—stuck. Since then, his presentation has racked up nearly a million and a half views. Attend a tech panel, or browse the pages of the New York Times or Wired, and you will repeatedly encounter the claim of VR’s unique power to evoke an empathetic response in viewers. Slip on an Oculus Rift headset, and suddenly you are in a camp in Jordan, observing a family as they eat meager rations in a makeshift tent.Charities such as Amnesty International, the International