What if you can hear the thoughts of strangers?

Directors: Alexander Porter, Yasmin Elayat

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Blackout is a virtual reality documentary where New Yorkers share their own stories in their own voice. Blackout is a living document, an ongoing participatory project gathering stories of real people living in this city under today’s heightened political climate. Blackout aims to bridge social differences by illuminating the moments when our lives intersect in a space where those stratifications are most visible – on the New York subway.



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Blackout is an ongoing participatory, volumetric VR project gathering the reflections of real people living in today’s tense political climate through the lens of the New York subway. By creating a rotating, ‘crowd-sourced’ cast, Blackout addresses the impossible task of representing the extraordinary breadth of human experience in New York City. Each viewing of Blackout is different, surrounding you with a unique group of straphangers taking you to the places their minds go between destinations.

The experience is full room-scale virtual experience with a 1-1 physical installation. We built a train car installation, where a virtual pole matches a pole in the physical installation. 

No two rides on Blackout are the same – every user experience is unique with a unique set of passengers.


Director: Alexander Porter

Co-Director: Yasmin Elayat

Technical Director: James George 

Executive Producers: Jeremiah Joseph, James George

Producer: Mei-Ling Wong

Co-Producer: Hannah Jayanti

Story Producers: Cyndee Readdean, Stacey Holman

Design Director: Nik Hill  

Branding Design: Michael Cina

Lead VR Artist: Pat Goodwin

Junior VR Artist: Jillian Morrow

Lead Developer: Mark Fingerhut

Graphics Developer: Kevin Watters, Matt Felson

DepthKit: Cory Allen, Kyle Kukshtel

Music & Sound Design: Antfood

Lead Editor / Interviewer: Hannah Jayanti

Editors: Matt Shilts, Giacomo Francia

After Effects Artists: Bil Thompson, John Harrison

Post Production Advisors:Juan Salvo, Ben Federman

Post Production Assistants: Natalie Cabrera, Supreet Mahanti

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Watch the Making of Blackout

We had an open production process during Tribeca Film Festival with a volumetric stage set up at Spring Studios. We would capture new characters for the virtual train every day.

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New Media Fund Awardee

Tribeca Film Institute


World Premiere

Tribeca Film Festival


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