Imagine a museum filled exclusively with books. Books on philosophy, on business, on boxing and stretching. It’d be a lot to look at. Last year, Eve Weston ’01 was considering this challenge: how to display some 2,800 books that belonged to martial artist and actor Bruce Lee for a new exhibit at Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum.
“You don’t really want to go to a museum and look at pages in glass cases,” said Weston, who studied classics and linguistics at Princeton. “How can we invite the museum goers into his library, but also his mind?”
“He was a very active reader,” Weston said, “both active in the sense that he would underline things and write notes in the margins, but also that he would often be doing things like stretching or cooking while reading.” When the visitor moves or shifts again, a new projection appears: Lee’s handwritten notes, along with photos and videos from his films. You can step on and off the circle, each time triggering a new image. The goal, Weston said, is for visitors to set the pace for how they absorb Lee’s collection.
The project has been years in the making. Before the pandemic, Lee’s daughter approached Weston’s co-creative director, Jessica Kantor, to help create a new exhibit about her father. His books hadn’t been shared with the public before. Weston and Kantor scrolled through hundreds of scanned pages to decipher Lee’s handwriting and categorize each quote and margin note into three categories — mind, body, and spirit — which became the three launchpads.
Curating a museum exhibit was new for Weston, but interactive art wasn’t. Ever since she learned about virtual reality from a classmate at her 15th Princeton reunion, she’s been thinking about storytelling that lives off the page. In 2018, she filmed a virtual reality sitcom called The BizNest.“Imagine if instead of watching the TV show The Office from the couch in your living room, you’re watching it from the desk next to Jim,” she said. It won an award for best television project an at annual tech conference in 2020 and was later adapted into a case study for a textbook about immersive media.
Today, she’s directing, writing, and consulting on immersive and experiential stories for virtual reality at museums, theme parks, and stores. Weston has taught virtual-reality filmmaking and TV writing at Emerson College Los Angeles, Los Angeles Film School, and Chapman University. And last fall, she wrote a book, 10 Kick-Ass Careers for Storytellers, about people working creative jobs in fields including podcasting, video games, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
“It’s important for artists to feel like this space is accessible,” Weston said. “That it’s not just for tech people who understand the jargon. It’s the artists that are going to make it a world in which we want to live.”