A long-awaited virtual reality experience based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech will make its world premiere as a ticketed museum exhibit at the end of February 2020, its developers announced today. The March promises to transport viewers to the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered the speech to a crowd of over 200,000 people at the U.S. National Mall, for an atypically engrossing 10-minute VR experience.
According to Time, which is organizing the exhibit, the experience’s centerpiece will be the first-ever virtual depiction of the slain civil rights leader — one it claims to be “the most lifelike rendering of a human performance in virtual reality to date,” thanks to a combination of live footage from the event, VR, AI, and machine learning technologies. Though there aren’t yet any images of the virtual Dr. King, The March is being developed in partnership with King’s estate, so there’s certainly every opportunity for a perfect 3D performance.
Over 80 actors were scanned to recreate the overflowing crowd in VR, in some cases including actual attendees and/or their relatives. The goal is to let a headset wearer feel as if they were actually attending the speech, including a fully interactive recreation of the scene, though it’s not yet clear how close or far viewers will be able to come to King as he’s speaking. Time previously said that the experience will include separate segments on the March, the National Mall, and the speech, which originally ran for nearly 17 minutes.
A large group of immersive and digital effects specialists are bringing the project to life, including Time’s Mia Tramz, Alton Glass of GRX Immersive Labs, V.A.L.I.S. studio, RYOT, Digital Domain, and actress Viola Davis’s JuVee Productions. Creative Artists Agency brought Time and RYOT together for the deal, and is acting as strategic adviser on the production.
The March will run from February 28 through November 2020 at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History, the United States’ first independent African American history museum, and travel to additional, yet-to-be-announced museums and public venues. Tickets will be made available soon, with early notifications to be sent out from this link.