The Soulignac Brothers | Virtual Tourism in the USA

The Soulignac Brothers” is an in-game video project launched with my brother during the lockdown in 2020, part of the Virtual Tourism Project. Living 10,000 km apart at the time (Paris – Saigon), looking for new rituals and usages to overcome distance, we decided to get together in video games to celebrate Christmas, have fun, chat and explore the potentials of the Metaverse.

Augmented video call

My brother and I had a lot of fun playing and exploring, but mostly we talked for hours. Not just about what was happening in the game, but also about what was happening in our real lives. Two brothers having a long augmented video conversation, plain and simple. A conversation that turned into a three-day creative collaboration, carried out remotely between Paris in France and Saigon in Vietnam. The result of this social experiment is a short video souvenir of the two of us, which faithfully reflects the pleasure we have in discussing and creating together. Other episodes may be created in the near future, but this will depend on the time available within the siblings, because reality and encounters in real life are and will always be a priority for us.

Gamification of the family time

After those first digital vacation experience with my brother, we realized that there were many ways to spend time with loved ones, including in cyberspace. These are truly fascinating times : despite the mobility constraints of the 2020-2021 period and future restrictions linked to the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels, we are fortunate to have the arts and technologies capable of creating immersive virtual worlds, enabling us to sublimate the decorum for our cyber-meetings. It’s up to us to make these new places our own, inventing new rituals based on pleasure with joy and public interest.

New rituals of long-distance relationships

Video games are nothing more than a collection of pixels, but the visual and cognitive capacities of our brains enable us to believe in these alternative realities – or at least to play at believing in them. Video games, just like literature or cinema, plunge us into a kind of very light hypnotic trance, enabling us – in a hypothetical way, to experience and feel the stories being told much more intensely. I believe that this same cognitive phenomenon could improve, or even reinvent, long-distance relationships : reduce the feeling of distance and loneliness by reinforcing the sense of presence that is essential to any human relationship.

The real potential of the metaverse

My brother and I didn’t just “play a video game”, we travelled together in a completely fictional, naturalistic and neo-realistic universe developed by the visionary American studio Rockstar Games. This outstanding virtual space – Red Dead Redemption 2, generates real and lasting emotions, and is considered to be one of the most graphically beautiful existing game. It’s a new theme park, where the risk of accidents is zero and memories can be documented and shared ad infinitum. Wouldn’t this be the ideal place to spend time and chat with loved ones when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible? And finally, isn’t this the Metaverse as it should be?

Comments are closed.