When someone mentions virtual reality (VR) they may start thinking about the PlayStation VR videogames, or potentially purchasing or re-modelling a car or house. VR and art are not yet something that are commonly put together. This may be due to what some might call the isolating experience one has to go through when putting on a headset. It’s a personal experience.
HTC Vive have been trying to change this with their Vive Arts Program, where they are trying to introduce VR into museums around the world. More and more artists are starting to understand the potential of VR, and you might start to stumble on small art exhibitions that are trying to integrate VR – like in David Blandy’s The End of the World Art Exhibition. Tina Sauerlaender and Philip Radiance Co-founders of Radiance are trying to make it easier for curators, museums and artist to connect on their Radiance VR art research platform.
Radiance is a trained artist himself and discovered VR four years ago. When he started to look for other artists who used the medium he found it incredibly difficult. Sauerlaender who is also a curator found it equally difficult and the two decided to set up Radiance. At the moment it’s a website where artists can upload images, videos, their bio and information about their VR experience. Radiance and Sauerlaender hope to add new features to the website, such as streaming the experience or potentially even downloading the experience and make it accessible for home users to view and experience VR art.
The website launched in September 2017 and features over 50 artists and are growing in number. Users are able to browse by artist, categories and platforms. The VR experiences are available for various VR headsets ranging from the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift to mobile VR platforms. Categories range from 360, feminism, parallel worlds, documentary, sculpture to portraiture to name a few.
Two examples of VR art pieces on the website are German artists Banz & Bowinkel who have created an VR experience named Mercury where a viewer is transported into an archipelago world of connected footbridges where various elements such as nature, culture and technology intertwine into a surreal terrain. Banz & Bowinkel in Mercury question the concept of simulated realities and thereby the human perception of the world.
Another example is Mélodie Mousset’s HanaHana 花華 VR art piece for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. In this surreal landscape you use your controllers to create structures, buildings, connections by growing chains of hands. This is where VR merges with the unconscious. Inspired by the manga One Piece or HanaHana 花華, it’s inspired and taken from the character Nico Robin who has the power to infinitely sprout and replicate her own body parts. HanaHana 花華 explored the liminal space between technology and the self.
The feedback for Radiance has been positive, with artists expressing the need for a database such as this existing to help connect them with other artists, curators and collectors. Radiance explains that VR you can create a whole new digital world with endless possibilities that can connect with a user in a way no other medium is capable of doing as there is no more frame. However when it comes to displaying VR art there are several obstacles in the way such as training technicians, maintaining hygiene and power for the controllers during the exhibition.
In order to discover, add yourself to Radiance or potentially purchase or exhibit VR art pieces you can contact Radiance through their website. To find out more watch the video below.