JMC's Immersive Storytelling Lab 360 Film Featured in the Children's Discovery Museum of San José

The Children's Discovery Museum of San José recently held its second annual celebration of International Mother Language Day, where a 360 film created by Professor Tina Korani and her student assistants Xinyu Cao, Nick Girard, and Holly Klotz was available for viewing amongst the artwork. The museum is honoring local multiculturalism with a new art gallery called "Mother Tongue" which features the work of young artists from the bay area. The art exhibition was organized by the Alborz Farsi School and the Children's Discovery Museum. With over 1,200 visitors per day, the museum brought quite the crowd for the film's debut.

The film called "Local Dance, Global Ties: A 360 Video Celebrating Multiculturalism in the Bay Area" was featured amongst the gallery's artwork. With a virtual reality headset, the viewers were able to be at the center of 7 different performances by dancers from the Bay Area. Traditional Indian dance from the Tamil regions (Bharatanatyam), Persian dance, ballet, hip-hop, Mexican folk dance (Folklórico), and Chinese ethnic dance (Tree) all take the stage. The video demonstrates that dance is a human commonality and that all types of dances are expressions of their respective cultural roots.

Prof. Korani and her team used the world's leading cinematic 360 camera, Insta360 Titan, to capture footage of the local performers. By experiencing these visuals in an immersive manner, the viewers are given the ability to witness a diverse set of dances that they may not normally get the chance to see firsthand. Dance inherently tells stories and elicits emotions. The experience becomes much more personal when the sounds and movements feel as if they are happening right in front of you, and viewers are able to build empathy and gain a deeper understanding of others through observing their movements.

Research shows that children who are exposed to multicultural media grow to become more tolerant of other cultures. The production of this project was motivated by current political and social climates involving cultural exclusion.

We hope this virtual reality and its partner cinematic experience will inspire young and old to enjoy dance (a universal expression of humanism), to be kind to one another, and think about the depth in the other cultures.

— Nick Girard