Digital Projections in Public Reality (2010)

Curated by Kevin Otoshi
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The core concept of this exhibit is to address the questions of: "what is reality? and what happens when we interact with virtual objects we know are not real. Do they then become part of reality? Or does their virtuality make them not real, even though they exists in real space. Inspiration is taken from Jon Rafman's exploration of self identity in virtual worlds (Kool Aid man in Second Life) which is heavily present in these art pieces. These art pieces further Rafman's exploration by showing how virtual projection can sometimes be just as powerful of an experience even if the experience isn't physically real. In Flock, the artists use a projector to project small dancing silhouettes of people dancing to Swan Lake. These silhouettes, accompanied with music from Swan Lake, encourage people in the public space to walk on to the projected "dance floor" and reenact parts of the play. This interaction allows participants to feel immersed in reality with both classical theater and modern projection technology to create a contrast between old and new. The Virtual Public Art Project (VPAP) is similar to this in its ability to let people have the option to accept or disagree with their interaction of virtual space in reality. VPAP sets up virtual projections of real life objects, such as the Liberty Bell, to allow people to interact with an object that is a virtual representation of something that is real. Thingpit takes a similar approach to both VPAP and Flock, but instead forces the audience to see and interact with their virtual projection by intermittently projecting it in public space. Thingpit is by far the most out of the ordinary because it augments what reality is in addition to creating something virtual in public space. This causes people to question their perception of reality and hopefully further understand why they believe what's real to them. The Salt Satyagraha Online - Gandhi's Treadmill Powered Salt March in Second Life (Gandhi) and Given Time, focus more on individual questioning of virtual projection as reality and how these projections can allow us to see through another person's eyes. In Gandhi, the author, Delappe, projects himself as a Gandhi in Second Life, an online 3D world, where he experiences Gandhi's famous march by becoming him virtually. Delappe enhances his experience further by connecting his character's movements to a treadmill which creates a physical connection between him and his virtual projection of Gandhi. This allows his actions to exist both in the real world and in the virtual world and thus better experience how Gandhi might have felt through his march. Given Time also uses Second Life to make a virtual projection of a character, but instead does it from the perspective of two virtual characters looking at each other in virtual space. This is put into the real world through high end projection cameras, which allows people to walk in between the virtual space in real space. This connection between real world space and virtual space allows the participants to feel immersed within the virtual space even though it isn't actually physically real.

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