Remembering Our Roots is an ecological time portal in AR.
In this immersive storytelling experience, you'll meet three plant ancestors that have played a part in my family's migrant journey. As changes impact our physical world, I use augmented reality to immerse in a sense of ecological home and share it with others. This project is an invitation for sharing ancestral plant wisdom from our entangled lineages amidst the ongoing climate crisis.
I started by talking to my family relatives about their relationships with the land. In response, my aunt took a visit the hill where she and my dad grew up. This place was home to many plants that both sides of my lineage knew and would forage for when times were hard. From her visual references of the hill, including a photo of the last house remaining from the village, I began to create the scene.
After gathering the stories I wanted to share in this piece, I modeled each plant in a VR headset, added texture, materials, and animations, then brought them into Adobe Aero.
Sound designer Alexander Babbitt composed a localized audible presence that, when paired with some growth animations, really awakens the area around each plant.
The stories come to life through an interactive player I put together by layering PNGs and activating them with in-scene Scale animation. Tap the names of each plant to learn its oral histories through my mother's voice in Mandarin Chinese and mine in English.
I particularly love showing virtual work in physical contexts to activate a collective imagination with my local community. For this project, I added the QR code onto some live seedlings I grew of heritage plants that are familiar from my cuisine, and exchanged them with others who brought their own stories of ecological resilience and healing.
It’s so necessary that we honor these memories, not just to reminisce but to actively renew our relationships with our food, locales, and in turn, ourselves. The artwork creates an opening that extends into real relationships between people and plants, and that to me is the power of using AR for social and ecological healing.