Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project, a immersive virtual reality project by Professor Roderick Coover, with Arthur Nishimoto, Daria Tsoupikova and Scott Rettberg, is winner of the 2016 Electronic Literature Organization Award for Best Work of Electronic Literature. This is the top prize for a creative work in the field of electronic literary arts.
Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project is a 3D narrative cinematic experience that premiered in the affective sensory environment of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory’s CAVE2 at the University of Illinois Chicago. It gives voice to stories of abusive violence towards detainees during the Iraq war and the post-traumatic stress experienced by ordinary American soldiers who became torturers in the course of serving their country. Based on interviews of American soldiers conducted by Dr. John Tsukayama, the work takes viewers on a travel through the domestic spaces and surreal interior landscapes of soldiers who have come home transformed by these experiences, triggering their testimonies by interacting with objects laden with loss.
One jurist wrote, “A major achievement. Rettberg and Coover harness the power of digital technologies to tell a powerful story and in doing so go far in changing the audience’s hearts and minds about torture.”
After screenings this month at ISEA2016-Hong Kong and ELO-Victoria, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project now travels to Poland where it will be presented at Digital Humanities 2016 and at galleries in Krakow and Katowice.