Reuniting Families with VR: Artist Feature, Alvaro Morales
Meet Alvaro Morales, an immersive media creator (VR/AR) working at the intersection of art, technology, and activism. He is the lead of the Family Reunions Project (FRP), an initiative creating VR experiences to connect undocumented immigrants to the families, hometowns, and home cultures they can’t physically return to.
Alvaro was born in Huancayo, Peru and moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. Now, through his work in immersive media, he’s found a way to to serve others and serve larger causes that he cares about.
Along with developing an augmented reality experience and multi-media project on various immigration issues, he’s directing a room-scale, interactive VR documentary “Home with América,” which will premiere this April.
LatinX: What role do you think the artist has in society?
Alvaro: The following has been said of startup founders but it has been true for artists for far longer: artists develop and spread ideas that influence millions of people’s lives and the way in which we engage with one another.
LatinX: What topics do you create about?
Alvaro: Family separation and reunification, borders, memory, and the concept of home and belonging.
LatinX: What’s your favorite piece of art?
Alvaro : Currently — Kamasi Washington’s “Fists of Fury.”
LatinX: What challenges do you face with your work?
Alvaro: Virtual reality is not accessible to the masses. Yet.
Latinx: Professionally, what’s your goal?
Alvaro: To “make cool things that last.” I stole this phrase from a friend. I interpret the phrase through a social justice lens. I like obsessively pursuing certain ideas and giving myself time to go down rabbit holes. I like to experiment and compare concepts side by side. This is a blessing and a curse.
View the Family Reunions Project on Facebook here.