VR Tag

Athens Digital Art Festival

15th ATHENS DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL | 6-10 November 2019

Project H.E.A.R.T. (Holographic Empathy Attack Robotics Team) (2018), my collaborative biodata-controlled VR project with Alex M. Lee, will be exhibited as part of the 15th Athens Digital Arts Festival in Greece!  I’ll be heading over from France in order to check out the festival, looking forward to seeing great digital art!

The theme for this year’s festival is: THE WORLD IS A HOLOGRAM.

Locus Sonus Residency France

I will be developing a new work for VR in the context of a residency at Locus Sonus in Aix-en-Provence starting February 2018 until May 2018.  During these three months I will push the potential of sonified biodata into increasingly posthumanist/non-anthropomorphic territories using virtual architectures as sensorial training ground, as inspired by materialist philosophers such as Jane Bennett and post-humanist Rosi Braidotti.

I thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its financial support of this project.

About Locus Sonus

Locus Sonus is a research group attached to ESAAix (École supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence) and the French Ministry for Culture, integrated with PRISM (Perception, Representations, Image, Sound, Music) an interdisciplinary research unit that groups researchers from AMU (Aix Marseille University), CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) as well as ESAAix.

Locus Sonus’ main aim is to explore the continuously evolving relationship between sound, place and usage in an Art/Science tradition. The research methodology includes experimentation with emerging audio technologies particularly those relating to sound transmission, mobilization or spatialisation as well as historical contextualisation of such practices. Locus Sonus accommodates practice-based PhD students enrolled at Aix-Marseille University (« Pratiques et théorie de la création artistique et littéraire » E.D 354).

Locus Sonus’ main field of investigation is entitled New Auditoriums, to be understood here as the different ways in which audiences collectively share a listening experience. Beyond physical spaces such as concert halls or open-air stages, we attribute this description to all systems that enable a shared audio experience. Examples include radio, audio streaming or virtual worlds. We consider that each system has particular (audio and social) qualities that call for artistic enquiry and experimentation, these may in turn lead to different types of artistic practice.

Locus Sonus’ current research focuses on audio in virtual environments (for example New Atlantis) and the transmission and perception of remote soundscapes (for example : Locustream).

About the project

In this project I propose virtual space and spoken word as a means of creating a “speculative” materialism that promotes empathy to (virtual) objects by allowing the viewer to objectify and analyze their own (biodata), making material of the human body itself. I’m interested in exploring the limits of virtual physicality and phenomenological experience through imaginative sonic narrative as well as virtual space, making use of simple 3D objects and architectures dramatically lit, referenced imaginatively through the five senses by the unseen narrative voice in order to maintain the focus on sound: the disconnect between virtual material and sonic suggestion forms a useful perceptual noise (for example, the voice writes on a notepad that is never seen, the sounds of a lab or examination room can fade in and out, lab is never seen). During this residency I would record the spoken word sections inspired by roleplay, personal attention and spoken narrative vocalizations typical to the genre of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), a style of sound composition developed largely on the internet that focuses on high frequency noises to create intense feelings of relaxation accompanied by “tingles” felt on the skin. ASMR enthusiasts focus intensely on the physiological reaction of the listener to sound, and so I want to use this voice as a means of loosely describing material agencies of virtual objects as imperative to the expansion of human sensorium. The link between physiological and phenomenological experience and confirmed biofeedback pushes the physical potential of VR into new sonic territories that focus on embodied experience through perceptions of external as well as internal spaces.

Other Residents

I am excited to be working alongside the other residents at Locus Sonus, and learning more about their projects and practices.

raadio caargo (Christophe Aslanian et Aurélia Nardini)

Mitchell Herrmann

New World Notes Top 12 of 2018

Wagner James Au, official blogger for Second Life, included my biosignal-controlled VR work Project H.E.A.R.T. in his New World Notes 2018 roundup of most exciting innovations in AR, VR and AI! Project H.E.A.R.T.’s innovate incorporation of emotion into gameplay was included among such exciting innovations such as MICA, Magic Leap’s Eerily Human AI Avatar Who Looks You In The Eye, an AI basketball player that “learns” how to dribble a ball, and IOS ARKit technology that allows for shadows and reflections of real objects to appear in AR spaces.

 

Click here to read what else made top 12 at New World Notes

Digifest Toronto

Thu, 04/26/2018 –
Sat, 04/28/2018

CORUS QUAY

25 Dockside Dr
ON M5A 1B6 Toronto


Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
Curated by Tina Sauerländer (Berlin) and Erandy Vergara (Montreal)

Project H.E.A.R.T. by Erin Gee and Alex M. Lee
Enter Me Tonight by Li Alin
 
At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut curators Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergara have selected VR works for this year’s Toronto Digifest, including two recent pieces by Berlin-based Canadian artist Li Alin and Montreal-based artist Erin Gee in collaboration with South Korean-born, US-based artist Alex M. Lee. The artists use humor and irony to engage in controversial topics: emotions in first-person shooter video games and war in the case of Gee, and a futuristic exploration on human reproduction in technology-oriented times in the case of Alin.

The audience itself explores Gee’s H.E.A.R.T., a virtual work where you have to control your emotions to control the leading character in a war-related VR game, as well as Alin’s Enter Me Tonight, a VR environment engaged with issues on human reproduction, economy, biology, pornography and technology.

In a contextualizing event, the curators will speak about the history of VR and current trends and critical perspectives on this technology.

Digifest 2018 website

Event information courtesy of Goethe Institute

New World Notes

Project H.E.A.R.T. (2018) was written about by Wagner James Au in his New World Notes blog on virtual worlds. I’m particularly tickled about this because he is the official blogger for the virtual world Second Life, so I’m very honored that he finds the world of Project H.E.A.R.T. interesting!

Wagner James Au, consultant and author of “The Making of Second Life” (HarperCollins) and “Game Design Secrets” (Willey) reports on virtual worlds, VR and related topics — including augmented reality, virtual currency, games and game development, and their appearances in RL popular culture and politics.

Click here to see the article

Rhode Island College

“// lonely avatar”, is an exhibition which investigates the use, meaning, and expressive potential of avatars in the contemporary digital landscape. “Lucid Dreaming” ruminates on the emptiness of the virtual avatar whilst “Project H.E.A.R.T.” involves filling that empty avatar with your emotion through a specially designed biosensor. Both projects follow a trajectory of thought in regards to the metaphorical potential of avatars in the virtual space. Curated by Frank Yefeng Wang, this show features works by Alex M Lee commissioned by Trinity Square Video in Toronto, ON and a project made in collaboration with Canadian artist Erin Gee.

Opening reception: 5-8pm
Artist Lecture: 7-7:30pm

The Chazan Family Gallery
Alex & Ani Hall
Rhode Island College
600 Mt. Pleasant Ave
Providence, RI 02908

Future Perfect @ Hygienic Gallery

My work for VR and biosensor controller, Project H.E.A.R.T. (2017) has been selected for an exhibition at Hygienic Gallery, New London, Connecticut.

Exhibition: February 16 – March 3, 2018
Hygienic Art Gallery, 79 Bank Street, New London, Connecticut, www.hygienic.org.
Opening Reception: Friday, Feb. 16, 4:30 – 9 p.m.

Selected works from Intersections: the 16th Biennial Symposium on Arts & Technology

It is increasingly understood that our lives are pushed, pulled and interconnected by a range of intersections among multiple factors of identity and experience including: gender, culture, race, sexuality, and economic and technological contexts, among others.

Future Perfect includes a roster of artists from around the world, whose work explores the complex forces pushing and pulling our technological culture, and our own identities within it. Their work speculates on present and future fusions and intersections between our rich internal worlds, our bodies, our relationships, and the strange inner lives of artificial intelligences, data clouds and social algorithms.

Through works across mediums such as virtual reality video games, social media performance, experimental documentary, interactive sculpture, locally produced audio tours, and more, the artists in the show ask and offer their own answers to questions such as:

  • What if our machines touch and activate us just as much as we them?
  • What if they could read our emotions, respond to our bodies, and perhaps try to change us back? Are they doing it already?
  • What if we downloaded a digital version of all the objects in the world? Where would it be stored? Are we slowly converting our planet into data? At what cost?
  • How will this city look, feel, and sound, in 10, 20, 100 years?
  • What will you do if the world ends tomorrow?

Featured artists

Angela Ferraiolo
Eunsu Kang
Erin Gee and Alex Lee
Luis Mejico
Ricardo Miranda
Veronica Mockler
Shalev Moran, Mushon Zer-Aviv and Milana Gitzin-Adiram
Juan Pablo Pacheco
Mina Rafiee
Joyce Rudinsky
Laura Skocek and Christoph Gruber
Jack Stenner
Jeff Thompson
Jenny Vogel

Credits

Gallery Director, Hygienic Gallery: Sarah McKay
Curator: Nadav Assor
Installation manager: Brian Dimmock

Production support provided by the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, Connecticut College.  Additional support from the College’s Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion, and the Office of the Dean of the College.

 

RadianceVR

Project H.E.A.R.T. (2017) has joined an interesting collection of VR works on the website radiancevr.co

If you find yourself looking for great examples of VR art, I’d highly recommend browsing the works on this website!

Founded by curators PHILIP HAUSMEIER and TINA SAUERLAENDER

“Radiance is a research platform and database for VR art. Its mission is to present artists working with VR from all over the world to create visibility and accessibility for VR art and for faster adoption of virtual technologies. The platform works closely with artists, institutions and independent curators to select the highest quality of virtual art for public institutional exhibitions.”

Review in Canadian Art

I really appreciate this article by Tatum Dooley for Canadian Art on the Worldbuilding exhibition curated by John G Hampton and Maiko Tanaka at Trinity Square Video. My work Project H.E.A.R.T. which highlights VR and emotions made with Alex M Lee is featured, among other great works by Jeremy Bailey Kristen D Schaffer Eshrat Erfanian and Yam Lau.  Following is an excerpt from the article:

“The gamification of our bodies renders the physical form void, replaced by screens where our bodies and emotions can be morphed and manipulated. Perhaps the only way to create art with technology as advanced and recent as VR is to reckon with its potential consequences.

Gee’s project, the most realized out of the four artists in the exhibition, masters this reckoning. I spoke with Gee in the lead-up to the exhibition, and she explained the conceptual backbone of the piece. “I’m working through questions of emotional sincerity when it comes to self-help. In theory, if you can technologically master your emotions, if you can just make yourself excited, then you can make yourself a better, happier person. I don’t know how sincere that is…”

Click on the link below for the full article.

VR and the Failure of Self-Help Technology

In general, I feel very proud of this work but also very exhausted by it.  Through the project I’ve been working through the relationship between pop music and war, self help and sincerity, and ultimately I’m working through these issues of technique and technology in how life and trauma comes to us.  During the panel for the exhibition, there was a question of whether I was “pro-war”, and it’s one that I have received a few times in facebook messages from curious friends from far away.  The project is complex and difficult to read because I think it has to be.  It reflects my own mediatized understanding of international conflict, maybe my own frustration at my lack of understanding.

The best I can understand war is how it is mediated to me: through video games and news cycles, through abstract discussions on the radio. The goal of this project was never to address the terror and complexity of geopolitical conflict, but rather, to propose a psychedelic pop culture mirror, imagining a video game ruled not by characters that espouse self-righteous violence and grit, but technologically manipulated empathy and enthusiasm.  This game fails to address war in the same way that all technologically mediated attempts to do so fail to address war.  I also am also dissatisfied at the idea of an artistic protest that makes a cartoonish, morally didactic utopia where rainbows and love shoot out of guns instead of flesh-tearing bullets. I think the answer about the politics of this game lie in the end screen: an abstract screen that confronts you with statistics of death and trauma as a result of the battle itself.  I don’t think there is a way to win the game.