In this new VR experience, we are placing a higher number of hippopotamus floating in the void.
One of the challenges that we have tackled in our previous work The Sleep of Reason Still Produces Monsters (currently shown at Gazelli Art House) was dizziness. In VR this is a topic that comes up quite often, as it can translate into temporary vertigo.
On the 20th September, the Zabludowicz Collection presented 3 new works of Rachel Maclean and a controversial VR film of Jordan Wolfson called “Real Violence”. Beyond Wolfson’s primary intention of shocking through smashing a guy’s head with a baseball bat, I was more shocked by the beginning of the video. In the plinth holding the artwork, I could find a bar attached to it. That bar is meant to help you keep your balance in case of dizziness. At first, one thought that it would be related to the violent scene but wasn’t. When you put the headset on, the first thing you see is a street of NYC upside down. After a second, the world rotates 180 degrees and presents you the violent scene. Seeing the streets, lamp posts, buildings rotate around you give you the sense of dizziness, hence the bar in the plinth. Also, few months ago, the studio dotdotdot presented SOMNIA, an immersive theatre experience that combined VR scenes into the artwork. One of its scenes, where one becomes a bird flying over a city, also tackled the issue of dizziness. In this case, they also used an armchair, where the user kneed on it, giving a physical stability to it.
In our new artwork, we are almost not going to have reference points beyond the hippos. By doing it, we can play with the position of the camera and its movement without creating a feeling of dizziness. We can place the audience into vertigo situation almost without noticing it. The pace, position and rotation of the camera and its relation with the hippos will determine if that effect is reflected in the experience or not. Also, we want to experiment whether it is possible to play with vertigo without feeling it and without using any physical help.