I have sampled a lot of virtual reality (VR) that has left me feeling confused and frustrated. Then I discovered “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness.” It centers on the audio diaries of John Hull as he recounts his gradual loss of sight over several years. He became completely blind in 1983. A professor of religion at the University of Birmingham in England, Hull died in 2015 at the age of 80.
Hull’s world is represented through visual abstraction, showing me how futile it is to attempt to accurately simulate reality. Its emphasis on the spoken word reminded me what role our imagination plays in evocative storytelling. Where there is interactivity, it is in service of the narrative.
For the first time, I saw how a VR story could draw me closer. Though blindness has always been present in my family, this project somehow helped me understand it better. For me, that qualifies it as an inspiring act of journalism.