I have been referring to Sonder Melbourne as an immersive experience and an unguided meditation, but what does that really mean? Is it really a simulation?
Simulation is the imitation of a real world through recreating it’s operations in a a virtual environment. According to Frasca, simulation is bigger than one story. He says it is a way to portray reality through creating an environment or at least an extension of one. Sonder Melbourne does exactly that. It creates an extension of the environment that Melbourne thrives in. It does through taking visuals that are unique to Melbourne and stitching together these visuals in a fast paced edit with music made and found only in Melbourne. Sounds from the city, the tick of the light, the electricity zap from the trams, the ruckus created by birds, with the skateboards flying around and rings of cycles passing by make the backdrop. The idea is to immerse oneself into the vibe of the city. The idea is to be able to recreate the city through a film and let one experience it like he was traveling through time in Melbourne. The fast pace is to be too fast to realize what happened till one has the time to process it. It leaves behind a sense, as one would commonly feel after a short trip here.
I believe it is an unguided meditation because it does not tell you what to feel or what to concentrate on, but the film is designed to be so overtaking of the senses, that one is unable to form any other unrelated thoughts. This makes it a 5-7 minute meditation of immersing yourself in another environment, very much in the present.
The diorama invented by Louis Daguerre is an example I would like to use to help my case of calling it a simulation. It tends to create a similar form of entertainment, through which one can transform himself into another world without actually being a part of it. But how does one engage in it?
It is not an active engagement through doing something to unlock a new level, but a passive one where the human senses are used to form an immersive environment, much like a kaleidoscope. The only active engagement at this stage is through the affordances that social media offers us. One can like, comment, share the film and talk about what experience they had while watching it. In the long term, a question that I would like to offer through studying the feedback is if it is enough for people to make a plan to visit the city and try out the real thing.
After talking to my other teammates, I have also realized that the project has a scope of extension through creating a more user interactive websites. But that comes at a much later stage and will be treated as a separate project because it changes all the dynamics of the current planning.