Virtual reality is a wondrous place where you can be anything, anywhere, doing anything. And it’s this ideology that permeates in creative technologist Grant Thomas and self-proclaimed “award-losing creative” Pablo Rochat’s first joint project. In their unique world, you could theoretically be anything, be anywhere, except you’re only allowed to do one singular thing: pee.
“[In] most VR experiences you’re gonna go to space and you’re gonna do surgery and do all this wild videogame shit,” Thomas said. But Pee World VR pisses away those bombastic sensibilities that plague other activities in virtual reality. Instead, as Thomas explains, “you’re doing something super normal,” even if the environment itself can be just as crazy as its comparable experiences. But hey, you can take a leak from the edge of the Grand Canyon if you so wish.
Thomas and Rochat haven’t collaborated prior to this project, but have been friends for awhile. They both came from similar, non-creative backgrounds (“In a past life I was a software engineer; I made boring stuff, like commerce websites,” Thomas told me), eventually stumbling into the creativity-fostering world of advertising. “Being around technology, you find all these serious projects and real innovation all around you,” Rochat explained of why he enjoys working in advertising. “[But] sometimes all you wanna do is just make fun of it.”
Pee World VR formed organically after that. “It turned out that we were both thinking about playing with the idea of inserting VR into a bathroom setting where you’re alone in a boring place doing something private, and something really fun can happen there,” Rochat explained. “People always have jokes for apps and always have ideas, but I think Grant and I realized both that if you actually go through and make it, it kinda takes it to the next level… it becomes part of the conversation.”
“sometimes all you wanna do is make fun of innovation”
Pee World VR has gotten polarizing reactions since its recent launch on October 26th. But that doesn’t bother Rochat and Thomas, as the project is rooted in them poking fun at themselves after all, not just at other serious-minded VR-afflicted projects. “Some people think it’s profoundly funny,” noted Thomas. “And other people hate it in a profound way, which is super awesome.”
Despite the fact that the project only covers the Male Experience of Peeing, they say that women aren’t entirely polarized. According to Thomas, some of his colleagues found the experience to be fun, while others docked it for not being realistic (from the feminine standpoint at least). When I asked why they didn’t make a sitting down option for all us ladies out there, Thomas was honest. “The candid answer as to why we didn’t include a sit down mode is because that’s more work, and we wanted to get something out fast,” he said. Luckily, Rochat encouraged me that it does still work sitting down, though its intense “big, bright arching pee stream” remains the same.
Thomas and Rochat have plans to collaborate in the future eventually, but for now, they hope to tour a small amount with Pee World VR. Whether through technology conferences or art gallery events, they hope to insert Pee World VR into real life as we know it. If it ever comes to a gallery or conference near you, just remember to empty your own bladder before taking a virtual piss.
You can download Pee World VR on Google Play for free.