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The Book of Distance is a new roomscale virtual reality experience that leads you through artist Randall Okita’s family history, asking you to watch and participate as he explores the life and lost memories of his grandfather, Yonezo Okita.
The experience will follow Randall as he unravels the threads of his family history, focusing on his grandfather, Yonezo Okita, who left Japan in the 1930s. As you can see in the trailer below, the experience will play with different mediums and integrate them together in new ways, bringing real historical artifacts into virtual environments, inviting you to participate as Randall uncovers previously lost details about his heritage.
Here’s a more in-depth summary:
In 1935, Yonezo Okita left his home in Hiroshima, Japan, and began a new life in Canada. Then war and state-sanctioned racism changed everything—he became the enemy. Three generations later, his grandson, artist Randall Okita, leads us on an interactive virtual pilgrimage through an emotional geography of immigration and family to recover what was lost.
The Book of Distance blends techniques from mechanical sculpture, film, and stage to redefine personal storytelling in virtual reality. Family archives add a haunting layer of realism. 2D and 3D hand-crafted sets reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, evocative character design, and seamless choreography combine with surprising moments of interaction to gently whisk us across the ocean and through the years.
The Book of Distance was selected for many VR film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca and Venice, but is now available for free for PC VR platforms. You can download it from Steam, Viveport and the Oculus Store.