For my looking outwards assignment I chose this video regarding Marina Abramovic’s VR work. I am familiar with Abramovic’s previous work but not in any particular detail (mostly stuff regarding her collaborations with Ulay) and this is the first time that I hear about her work in VR. The reason that this project was of particular interest to me is because it really showed me an application of VR that had less to do with living in a digital space, and with applications of games or artistic tool (I saw at least a good 5 or 6 videos that focused on modelling or drawing in a 3D space).
This piece right here is one of the pieces in the set that truly focused on approaching VR from a performance perspective, in a way. I really appreciate VR as an approach to fine art, as an effective form of conveying a concept and allowing a person t0 experience what you as an artist consider. It seems like a really elaborate space for conceptual work and I think that’s what’s so fascinating to me about this project by Abramovic.
Pearl is a VR animation film that tells a life story of a girl name Pearl through the consecutive events that occur in, with, and around the car. The audience always stays inside the car and sees various people come and go. As the film progresses, Pearl’s childhood scenes interweave with the current moments, which not only conveys the idea that her memories have shaped who she is now, but also that she perhaps is reminiscing her childhood, which many people would/could relate to.
What impressed me the most about this is that this short animated film is the piece that showed me what VR can give that no other medium can. I’ve watched many videos and read many articles that state VR will be the new, ultimate, revolutionary medium, yet words by itself didn’t really meant much. I think this film has made an exemplary usage of VR in storytelling. The story of this film is great, and the producers have made a great choice of using VR to convey the story, as it matches well with the closeness/personal feel of the film.
This work was part of a bigger experiment – Google’s DeepDream program. This program uses a neural network that transforms the ordinary footage you feed it into a surrealistic, psychedelic, dream-like landscape. Just watching it on my laptop was so mesmerizing, I cannot imagine how it would look like using a VR headset. It really reminds me of those psychedelic drug trips that TV shows/entertainment depicts. This project just caught my eye because in my own work, I love to play around with iridescent/multichromatic materials to play around with reflection and refraction, and although the textures/materials used in this digital piece isn’t reflective, the overwhelming amount of colors in the video really makes it seem like it is.
Das Is is a piece where the audience is in a space where they have lost their sense of “being” and/or “thingness” but still being able to communicate with the space. Chelley bases this idea off of the therapeutic process called EMDR where you reprocess traumatic imagery. Basically, her project allows the player/user to explore an afterlife shifting through space through portals as their very own disembodied self. To give some background, Chelley Sherman often studies neuroscience and psychoacoustics and utilizes them in her artwork.
What I particularly like about this work is the fact that the player/user is put in a position where they feel like they are physically confronting death and the idea of mortality. They travel across this surreal landscape containing these diverse planes of memories and sensory fragments(audio, visual).