Fashioning a Virtual Artist

Posted by Rhizome | Wed May 21st 1997 1 a.m.

As a "vr artist" I would like to react to the comments of Barbara London
(see http://www.tech90.net) - which challenged a response:

Current vr activity appears to be preoccupied with simulating reality in
a parallel manner to pre-20thC painters trying to realise realistic
copies of landscapes, portraits etc.

The advent of photography and the early 20thC art of Cubism and Duchamp
combined with non-Euclidean ideas of reality broke this mould. Virtual
Reality can be seen as conceptual stake into the land of arrogance and
illusion - where we believe reality is a purely perceptual phenomena and
model this theory as a mathematical, Cartesian, perspective illusion in
the depths of vr software. Whereas the relatively new Quantum physics
indicates complex mathematical "realities" that challenge our everyday
assumptions as to what reality might look like.

What is to be gained by simulating the mundane when the medium of vr
potentially offers alternate conceptual realities? The fourth dimension
inspired Duchamp into creating artworks that were perhaps not quite of
its time, I too find the idea of higher dimensions inspiring and a means
of questioning the perception of, and interaction with, so called
reality. Vr enables the manipulation of space, time and energy, the
exploration of the interaction between perceiver and perceived giving
rise to completely new types of work that I would hope unify the
disparate idealogies of art, science and the mystical. The creation of
Alembic, an interactive vr installation (see website) represents a small
step in this direction.
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