“Tree brings an inspiring breathtaking moment of realization which can inspire something that’s much deeper than any intellectual understanding of deforestation and biological diversity,[…] Emotionally involving people like that is not only powerful, but needed. Science can win minds, but you really need art to win hearts.” – Jungwon Kim, Rainforest Alliance.
We at New Reality Company, a NY/LA-based creative boutique, recently named to Adweek Top 100 Creatives list, are the studio behind the location-based virtual reality experience Tree. Tree tells a universal message without language, and uniquely bridges interdiscplinary practices to spark conversations surrounding climate change, storytelling, and innovative technology. The piece transforms you into a majestic rainforest tree. With your arms as branches and body as a trunk, you’ll experience the tree’s life from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. To fully immerse you into the experience, it is enhanced with sensory elements; there is a scent track, wind, heat and haptic vibrations to simulate growth.
Tree premiered in 2017 at Sundance, and was screened at World Economic Forum, TED, Tribeca Film Festival, CPH:DOX, and IMAX Centres across North America. Tree, created in partnership with the environmental nonprofit Rainforest Alliance, received the HTC Vive VR For Impact Grant, our second Unreal DevGrant for excellence in the game engine, a Lumiere Award for ‘Best VR Location Based Short’, a People’s Voice Webby Award for ‘Best VR: Interactive, Game or Real Time’ and two Telly Awards (‘Use of VR’ and ‘Social Responsibility’).
We believe that VR has the power to make an impact. Over the past two years our team has been travelling the world, witnessing the moments when people take off their headsets. We’ve seen people in tears. We’ve seen people transformed. And we’ve seen the experience spark many conversations about what can be done to create change. Around the world, the resonating response we have heard is: “This is the first time climate change has felt personal”.
We’re truly honored to have made an impact at showings around the festival circuit with The New York Times, The Verge, Tech Crunch, LA Times, and Quartz Media all completing write-ups on Tree. The project was also highlighted as key piece in Sundance’s larger conversation around global climate change, and at Tribeca. Tree was positively reviewed by Forbes, The Observer, The Creators Project at VICE and Vice Impact.