Visionary author Douglas Coupland reckons by 2023 that the world will be fully immersed in all things virtual with many of us having no connection to the real world.
But what if virtual reality (VR) can help us be more understanding and more caring of each other, ourselves and our planet? Surely that’s a good thing? We are used to seeing VR used for pure entertainment, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find artists and designers who use this technology to explore the experience of being human and our connection to the natural, social and political world we live in.
Take Marshmallow Laser Feast’s ‘We Live in an Ocean of Air’ currently showing at the Saatchi Gallery. This fully immersive VR installation puts visitors right at the heart of nature – breath and heart sensors track real-time breathing and encourage the participant to reflect on their dependence and responsibility to the other organisms sharing the planet. Binaural sounds, scent dispersal systems and wind machines also feature as part of the installation. Together with the stunning visuals, this conjures up the experience of being in the heart of forest.
Featured image credit: Installation shot, ‘We Live in an Ocean of Air’, the Saatchi Gallery. Image, courtesy of Marshmallow Laser Feast.
The natural world is a running theme for experimental collective Marshmallow Laser Feast. Find out about ‘In the Eyes of the Animal’, a VR piece featuring and experienced in a real forest. The project is a great example of how their work combines architectural tools, performance, and tactile objects to animate virtual and physical spaces.
Looking for more inspiration?
And if you’re looking for another collective that used VR to demonstrate the importance of care and responsibility in a different way, check out Hyphen-Labs.
Their project, ‘Neurospeculative Afrofeminism,’ included a VR installation of a beauty salon as well as a series of speculative (e.g. imaginary but thought provoking) beauty products and accessories, which were part of a manifesto about self-care and survival. Read more about the project in Huffington Post’s article ‘Afrofuturist Artists Craft A Virtual World For Women Of Color’
Interested in virtual reality?