Every year, Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of students from around the world. To make the most of their Canadian experience, many opt to live with a host family. Homestay is one family’s story of life with international students—a look at how complete immersion in another culture can create a clash of expectations and change our understanding of family, hospitality, nationality and love.
Homestay is a multi-layered experiment that incorporates the latest in VR technology to create a beautiful folded paper-craft representation of the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia that narrator Paisley Smith visited while grieving the loss of a friend and “family member.”
The paper garden signifies the failure of cultural symbols to fully represent people in all their complexity. As users move through the botanical world and interact with key elements, the heavily symbolic visuals fold into existence enabling you to literally construct the environment, from a single leaf to a beautiful, immense garden.
Smith’s narration powerfully conveys both the youthful observations of someone who is discovering much of the world for the first time and the mature insights of a person with a more seasoned understanding of universal themes such as family, culture, empathy and tragedy.
TRIGGER WARNING: This VR project contains themes about suicide and loss, which may be upsetting to some people.