In her powerful virtual reality (VR) work, Virtual Architecture of Empathy, Iranian-Australian artist Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson explores how immersive mediums such as VR can foster empathy in the viewer.
The work follows her family’s experiences of forced migration, inviting audiences to form an emotional connection while evoking empathy for and a deeper understanding of migration, displacement and homelessness.
Weaving live theatre with film and poetry, the virtual world created by Eshraghian-Haakansson makes visible the cultural stories that transcend personal experience – becoming universal tales of the human condition. Using VR, the artist immerses the viewer in their story, shifting the viewer’s perspective from one of passive spectatorship to that of witness and participant. By facilitating an emotional, active experience, Eshraghian-Haakansson asks the viewer to consider their own ideas of what constitutes a home.