Struggling to wade through ‘Ulysses’? Maybe this VR version will help

Ulysses Occulus Rift

If you’ve ever tried to read James Joyce’s Ulysses, you’ll know that getting through it can be, well, challenging to say the least (I got through the first four pages before a splitting headache caused me to put it down for a moment. That moment has lasted four years). Now though, a crowdfunding campaign is aiming to make the work a little bit more accessible through the use of virtual reality.

Irish visual artist and film-maker Eoghan Kidney is looking to raise around €4 000 (US$5 400) to build a virtual reality version of the world inhabited by Ulysses’ vast array of characters. The idea is that by seeing the story through their eyes while the story is read out loud, readers could go a long way to penetrating the text’s complex stream-of-consciousness narrative. As well as the VR world, Kidney hopes to provide information about the Dublin of 1904 in which the book is set and Joyce’s own life. Readers, if you could still call anyone accessing Ulysses in this way that, would be able to access these nuggets by halting their progress through the text’s world.

If the amount Kidney is trying to raise seems a little small for a project of this scope, that’s largely because the initial crowdfunding round will only cover one chapter, as a kind of proof of concept.

Still, if anything can help beleaguered literary students access Joyce, we say it’s a good thing.

“In Ulysses” from Eoghan Kidney on Vimeo.



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