No real difference to this than work I’ve done previously, its nice to see it running in Unreal. The lighting is considerably better. Really, this was just testing the old in the new engine.
I’ve been thinking hard about what I could produce at Anise. After some experiments with virtual relief sculptures, I believe I’m one step closer. It carries on from the work I’ve produced over the past few years and continues to look at more classical influences.
As a narrative, I’d like to keep it simple. I’m currently going through photographs from the past 3 years. Many of which capture everyday scenes in Athens, Portland, Berlin, London, Dublin and more. I’d like to collect different figures and scenarios and begin to put together crowded urban environments. Much of the focus will be on the use of the internet, consumer technology and the effects it has on the everyday scene. The paranoia of exaggerated news stories, the global obsession of social media and selfie culture, clueless smartphone users lost in the roads, the increasing intelligence of our surroundings, surveillance, smart buildings and cars…. etc. etc.
I want to show the impact of ‘fake news’ and the miscommunication made possible through everyday access to live information. Tools such as the news bulletin and Twitter were created with the hope of informing the public positively, however it appears that the ambiguity of the information released only lends to confuse and misdirect those that use it. A more individual effect of this information onslaught is the re-evaluation of friendship in the 21st century. From having the unintended ability to monitor each others interaction with personal messages such as The “Read” appearing on a Facebook message, or the double tick on WhatsApp, to the amassing of Facebook friends that can accumulate almost everyone you’ve met in a decade. Forgive me, these are usually in a non professional capacity, LinkedIn, answers the other half of the spectrum. Whilst modern urban life is fast paced and time is clouded by the false impression of digital organisation apps and calendars, these features only act as catalysts for social anxiety, miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Social Media has impacted friendship and relationships, and what it means to meet and talk with others. Dating apps are an interesting example of this bizarre / semi-ironic trend of increasing online and decreasing offline interaction. Its ironic as it appears on the surface that social interaction has increased, but in fact feelings loneliness is on the rise. This is very debatable, for one, how long have humans been studying and recording feelings of loneliness, and two, social media is made for positivity, no one shares the shit day they’ve had. Scrolling through Facebook creates an understandable lack of fulfilment, especially if you are doing something mundane. This could go on. Every user has their own thoughts and feelings about this, this is just a small example of the initial thoughts I’m having about trying to capture modern urban scenes and the imbalance between digital and physical social interaction. A city scene without both aspects wouldn’t delve into this century’s current social snapshot.
I imagine the outcome will be a few rooms in VR along with some physical wall based work. Within the VR experience, the walls and ceilings will contain relief work and sculpture. The physical work will be reflections of the VR environment as well as ongoing experiments during the process.
Once again, I’m looking at work by Ghiberti and Rodin, but also L S Lowry, Keith Haring, Tamara de Lempicka and William Hogarth.
Below are images I’m using as inspiration for the initial stages of this project. Its basically a mood board.
Virtual Reality has been presumed as the next big thing in tech for some time. I’ve followed this for a few years now, and continue to be an advocate and enthusiast of its production, success and use as an artistic medium. However, I understand the problems that it faces. Firstly, I still dont have my own headset at home, but I did buy a suitable PC. That purchase alone will continue to haunt me for the foreseeable future, and I’m only half way to being able to truly consume the technology…. It’s too expensive. When you essentially need a mortgage to enjoy a new technology, maybe its not quite there yet as a commercial endeavour.
The next foul issue is the importance of social interaction in industry leading games and experiences. VR is immersive yet lonely. Most indie developers aren’t yet comfortable enough to produce realistic or believable people in VR. This means that most of the experimental experiences you can see are desolate. Some of the bigger productions, and 360 films do have this element, however, as talked about in a previous post, there is not yet a possibility of interaction. This interaction, that we experience from social media has the potential to bring a new lease of life to an industry that has seemed as if its going to explode for a few years now. Hopefully VRs failure from the 80s isn’t about to reproduce itself.
Antipossible that we can be selectively aware of those around us in a space such as a tube carriage? Really, we only need to know, when to get off, out the way, if someone is pick pocketing or groping us, or god forbid, there is a rampant killer on the loose (by this, I really mean any significant emergency). Other than that I’d be happy to watch a bit of Netflix or read a few articles on my commute into the city on a virtual beach, on a screen the size of a bus without having to bend my neck for prolonged periods of time.
Automated cars hope to feed off each others data. Potentially allowing a car to think again before taking a turn, as a message has passed through the cars, that a serious road accident ahead has just occurred that will create significant congestion. Another potential use of this information sharing, is keeping each car on the road aware of cyclists. Can our smartphones use such a system? Information sharing and Cybersecurity is a terrifying and sobering truth of the Digital age. Its prevalence could threaten the growth of our internet and technology use. For this sort of everyday information / awareness sharing to take place, we need to be more comfortable with the security that’s in place, and the horror stories of hacking will need to be fairy-tales of the past. Unfortunately the likelihood is that they’ll get worse the more we rely on the tech. Hypothetically, if everyday VR headsets were to become a thing, with a reactive system that pokes the user to avoid collision or other interactions in reality, we’re all one step further to becoming lonely cyborgs…
Part of me (the tech enthusiast) says bring on the everyday headset, the other part (an actual human being) wants to restore my old Nokia and move to mid Wales. Realistically, VR may be too immersive and its use may be kept for very specific applications, experiences and industries. However, Augmented and Mixed Reality systems could provide the digital use we crave and the social IRL interaction we need as well as giving our necks a break. As mentioned from Portland, augmented reality isn’t even close yet but lets give its progression a chance. We might all be lonely otherwise. Happy Valentines Day +1.