Use of Force

Virtual Reality: Use of Force (2014)

By Nonny de la Peña

Friday, March 18


Followed by a Q&A with: Nonny de la Peña

When thirty-five year old Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was beaten and tasered to death by the border patrol, an incident that the San Diego coroner’s office ruled was a homicide, he was one of more than a dozen migrants who have been killed by the border patrol under questionable circumstances in the past two years. This virtual reality documentary depicts the dehumanization of migrants at the US—Mexican border through a revolutionary technique that employs gaming platforms and immersive virtual reality technologies to tell the narrative. Through the use of fully-tracked goggles and a rich soundscape, the audience feels like they are on scene the harrowing night of Anastasio’s death.

Using eye-witness mobile phone video, audio, and photographs to carefully reconstruct what happened, the story is portrayed in life-sixe detail using advanced technologies including high resolution goggles, digital modeling real time graphics and compelling soundscapes. Harnessing the sense of presence, of being there, that comes with full body tracking, the piece allows audience members to engage as if they were nearby that night. In this way, Use of Force provides a deeper understanding of the brutal murder of a helpless man trying to return to his family who had been leaving peacefully for more than two decades on the US side of the border.