Notes on Blindness: A virtual reality experience

“Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness” is a virtual reality film created from the audio diaries theologian John Hull kept as he went blind.

The use of virtual reality in entertainment is making it more possible for filmmakers to create the experience of radical empathy for the viewers by taking them on immersive journeys into the world of others. Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness is a feature length film and multi-platform virtual reality project created from the audio diaries kept by theologian and writer John Hull, who slowly lost his vision and went completely blind in 1983. 

In order to cope with the deterioration of his sight and make sense of his changing world, Hull kept a detailed diary on audio cassettes. The diaries, which total over 16 hours of recorded thoughts, span three years and describe the difficult experience in precise and articulate language. 

Filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney use textured sound design and clever light patterning against a dark backdrop to take the viewer on a deeply personal journey with Hull into what he describes as a “world beyond sight”, a world that became increasingly interior facing.

Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2016 and will be released in the UK later in year.