Stereoscape recently had the pleasure of working again with artist Josefina Nelimarkka on designing a custom VR experience for her latest exhibition at gallery Oksasenkatu 11. The piece, entitled Argos Telekinesis, exists parallel to Nelimarkka’s painting practice, connected not only by concept but also in their dual demands for time. The works are not simply made but require making, remaking and unmaking; the audience is encouraged to spend time, time to move and time to explore. In this way VR is the ideal medium to provoke a deep and prolonged engagement with art works.
The visitors work their way through the installation, past interventions, past paintings exposed by starlight, descending the spiral staircase and eventually encountering the possibility of the Oculus Rift headset, to provide a portal into another world. The pacing of the exhibition allows for one to transition slowly from the physical world to the virtual.
Unique, individualised experiences with gaze control
The goggles rest on a chair, inviting the viewers to sit comfortably and place them over their eyes, finding themselves within an infinite colour field, soft and drifting. The sky is laced with Greek letters, recalling constellations, both of the sky and of sentences. From here they can use their own eye movements to determine the direction they travel in, the words fly through space, revealing themselves to the reader. Their gaze decides what part of the narrative will be uncovered next, in this way the work is not just an immersive experience but a unique and individualised one, it will always be slightly different depending on the desires and decisions of the viewer. Even though there is also an external screen allowing others a glimpse into this world, they will not see the same journey as the lone traveller wearing the headset.
Argos Telekinesis also functions as a kind of expanded book, using VR in this way introduces the possibility of a more immersive form of reading. Many visitors to the exhibition chose to stay in the virtual space for quite some time; it has already been acknowledged that VR is one way to potentially support positive sensations and consciousness. In the context of an artwork this provides a direct way to tap into and convey feeling in a style that is impactful, meaningful and long-lasting.
VR and contemporary art run parallel
The physical navigation of the audience recalls many of the themes present in the exhibition, in this way VR is a very versatile medium, able to adapt and run parallel to many of the major themes within contemporary art, such as presence, embodiment, memory etc.
It’s inevitable that VR will develop even more of a role within contemporary art and here at Stereoscape we are excited to encourage this new frontier in the art world.
Yet; predicted futurities tracked in poems
at Galleria Oksasenkatu 11, 4.11.-27.11.2016
– Iona Roisin