While the advertising, education and gaming applications of virtual reality have flooded headlines particularly since the launch of PlaystationVR, the technology’s untapped potential in the visual arts space is exciting artists worldwide to incorporate this revolutionary new medium. At its heart, virtual reality is storytelling tool which is only limited by the creativity of its user. When in the right hands, the boundaries between what is imagined and what is real may be convincingly shattered.
Intrigued by the influence of this technology on our modern world, our 360 DOP, James Brown, along with Happy Finish VR imaging artist, Nick Nedeljkovic, teamed up to produce a 360 visual art experience for the project IMAGINARY | BOUNDARIES. Curated by Sophie Nibbs at BEARSPACE, the piece, entitled Glass Jar, challenges viewers to take an active part in the gallery space by fully exploring the minute details of the work, manipulating the perception of their own experience.
The exhibit was centered around a uniquely stitched 360 image which was originally shot in the tank room of the National History Museum of London. The image, which was displayed both as a traditional print and a 360 projection, surrounds the viewer with a curious array of preserved specimens in a pleasantly disorienting manner. By using an interactive projection as the central visual outlet for this piece, Glass Jar sought out to deliberately blend the unparalleled immersion of virtual reality with the seamlessness of a shared projection, all without the isolating effects of a VR headset.
Reflecting on the message behind the piece, Sophie explained, “If the boundary between the virtual and the physical does not need to be mediated through the portal of a headset or a screen, then the two worlds can become increasingly indistinguishable. The work serves as a testing of this division between reality and that which is digitally rendered.”
The exhibition was hosted the 14th-29th of Oct 2016, however you can explore Glass Jar on your browser or smartphone to get a taste of this immersive artistic experience below.