Wild Empathy


Wild Empathy
research and immersive art about Pacific Northwest ancient trees and forests, 2018-20
website: wildempathy.org

The Wild Empathy immersive art will be exhibited at Science World in their Search Gallery, fall 2019 to spring 2020.

British Columbia (BC) is known for its wilderness and lush green forests. Our intact forests with old-growth trees play a crucial part in the province’s natural ecologies, and they contribute to the health of the planet. Old trees take in vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere because of their growth rate that accelerates with age, they provide rich sites of biodiversity unlike newer trees, and they function as crucial hubs in the below ground networked mycorrhizal activities of the forest. But extensive logging, human development and climate change have reduced our wild spaces, and now threaten the future of our intact forests and old-growth trees. The Wild Empathy team is working to raise awareness of the value and irreplaceability of these ancient trees and forests through research and creation of immersive art for public display.

The majority of city residents will never experience being in an old growth forest, and they may be unaware of the complexity of these interconnected ecosystems, even as their crucial value to climate change reversal becomes evidenced. The Wild Empathy project creates immersive multimedia experiences for urban audiences, in order to raise awareness about the unique features of local old growth forests, leading to a sense of wonder and care for their protection.

Dr Julie Andreyev, principle investigator, Emily Carr University
Dr Maria Lantin, co-investigator, director of the Basically Good Media Lab, ECU
Tom Cummins, Director of Exhibits, Telus World of Science
Simon Overstall, sound production, composer and computational aesthetics
Damien Gillis, independent documentary filmmaker
Dr David Baar, independent computer scientist
Dr Deirdre Brink, independent biologist
Lorenz Jimenez, independent photographer and videographer
Sean Arden, research technician in the Mixed Reality Lab, ECU
Olivier Leroux, VR cinematographer, Impact VR
Alonso Benavente Fortes, project staff, ECU
Alex Hass, research associate, Basically Good Media Lab, ECU
Mana Hairichian Saei, research assistant, ECU
Cara Jacobsen, research assistant, ECU
Edward Madojemu, research assistant, ECU
Emma Baldwin, graduate research assistant, ECU
Michael Fowler, research assistant, ECU
Vanessa Wong, research assistant, ECU
Chloe Brumwell, research assistant, ECU
Arian Jacobs, research assistant, ECU
Jess Spaude, web developer research assistant, BCIT

Supported by: 
Connection Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2019
SSHRC Institutional Exchange Grant, ECU, 2019
Gillespie Design Research Grant, ECU, 2018 and 2019
Basically Good Media Lab, and the Mixed Reality Lab, ECU



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