Toward an Ethics of Interactive Storytelling at Dark Tourism Sites in Virtual Reality

  • Joshua A. FisherEmail author
  • Sarah Schoemann
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11318)


A number of VR storytelling experiences transport their users to representations of real world sites in which there has been death, pain, suffering, and tragedy. Much of the current scholarship regarding these VR experiences grapples with their technical success or failure. Less explored are the philosophical and ethical implications of transporting users to such dark sites. In an effort to fill in a knowledge gap, research from the field of dark tourism studies will be used to inform how VR stories might morally construct their representations. For over two decades, the field of dark tourism has grappled with the ethical planning, managing, and facilitating of tours at sites where atrocities, crimes, disaster, tragedy, and death have occurred. Dark tourism tour guides, interactive storytellers in their own right, have negotiated these dark narratives for centuries. This paper proposes that visits to dark tourism sites in VR should not just parallel current models of dark tourism but utilize the affordances of the medium to facilitate new opportunities for ethical compassion and understanding in the mediation of mortality. A foundational step toward an ethics for these kinds of dark VR experiences is put forward for future discussion.


Dark tourism Virtual reality Ethics Design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgia Institute of Technology, Digital Media ProgramAtlantaUSA

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