By Gabrielle

OCT 17TH 2015

the passive observed objet d’art is boring to me = I do not love going to exhibitions and simply looking at stuff./

dynamic interfaces are better =  that is to say, it’s good when the artist understands that you, sweet cheeks, are a part of the system, the circle of a-liiiife.

    I liked this show. When you walk in you can leave your shoes on a rack and jump into a BALL PIT which is super fun and instagrammable in its UV light, just a real life filter innit (yeah totes fun n games until you realise the ball pit simulates the staggered quicksand drowning of furries on footage playing overhead, of chopped up clips mined from dirty-good cheeto greasy corners of the internet). for more visitor-cum-participant pieces, there are hugging seats from which to view other films, as well as short locker boxes you disappear into, all alone with a monitor. A couple opened the door of mine and i blushed. There is a water bed upstairs. you lie back to watch a video above of melty heads bobbing in their own digi-waves (you get the picture yeah, Rafman is making you feel things)

    now i am Gonna be honest, I did not see the film he made especially for this exhibition, only because I overheard a boy exclaim that there was an <3oculus rift<3 at the centre of a MAZE in the back room, so I legged it. I waited 45 minutes in line for my turn, and afterwards it was home time. I would have waited longer as well, virtual reality is the bees knees. [FYI each person in the queue will take 6ish minutes so go, count and decide if you want to wait. I had dried mango and twitter with me so I was set].

    VR fits perfectly into this exhibition as another trick that requires you :* for activation. The video is on a track, so you don’t walk around and explore the virtual environment, your ~eyes~ go on a set ride but you are permitted to look around - a torchlight projects in your line of sight, and it’s sensitive enough that you shouldn’t feel motion sickness. (the track method is just practical for exhibitions really. wait to be empowered by VR games that should be taking off early-mid 2016. come round to mine cause I’m gonna buy a head mounted display for reals. VR is going through a renaissance at the moment, after which we can expect its due modernism and more abstract environments with their own physics and problems, but for now…) the film takes you through a studio-ghibli-scary forest where, between trees, 60ft figures stand monochrome and maybe their heads follow you? maybe I imagined that? The shrubs were dancey in the breeze and i felt chilly. I later asked if fans were synchronised with the footage but the gallery assistant laughed at me :( I imagined that, too. To be fair, I have been traumatised since the air con came on precisely as the whole world buckled under icy global told-you-so when I went to see The Day After Tomorrow in the cinema. such a conspiracy. but backkkkk to rafman, who isn’t adding anything to the discourse on VR, just giving you the chance to have a go. and thats fine for now. 

***I was so psyched to see this that I booked onto a curator tour, which i’d recommend - Kelly Large is a good egg, her intro is accessible and concise, and she’s emailed me images of the film in Oculus for my dissertation, what a babe :)

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