Don’t expect to find a winner in the augmented versus virtual reality debate, nor one killer app deciding the future of virtual experiences, argues Sander Veenhof. Both VR and AR are bringing us many advantages, and just a few disadvantages, for which solutions can be found. Smart systems will help us to access relevant content at the right time and place, using the right device. We’ll live our future lives in a variable state of virtual immersiveness depending on our context and our whereabouts. While on the go, we will be confronted with a spectrum of apps ranging from text-based interactions to fully virtual environments – and beyond. Because with Google Cardboard we can intensify the VR experience by walking around a city while exploring a virtual world. The origin of this specific approach to VR coming from the augmented reality location-based background and fascination of Veenhof. In his visual presentation, he will reflect on the problems, solutions and new (business) potential for the genre he dubbed “Outdoor VR”.
15th International Symposium on Electronic Art
Physical Virtuality platform – bringing real and virtual together, physically
August 28th 14:00h – Waterfront venue – Main Hall
Since its existence, art has always exploring every thinkable dimension. Having its origin in 2D, as flat surface painting, it moved towards 3D with sculpture and performance, explored the 2D plane further with video and it even got into a non-dimension with certain highly conceptual art pieces.
Being confronted with new (digital) tools and phenomena, artists are currently actively exploring the multi dimensional opportunities and hybrid-dimensional forms. Working in virtual reality, making virtual art and being a virtual artist, it’s a common practice in VR world such as Second Life where the art world is thriving with new artworks ‘not possible in real life’. Ranging from huge gravity ignoring participatory installations to minimalistic work reflecting on the medium itself. Anything is possible…. Or isn’t it?
In a quest to conceptualise an artwork ‘not possible in virtual life’, the new media artist Sander Veenhof (1973) from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has been studying the fundamental characteristics and limitations of virtual worlds to find out if such an artwork could possible be created. He so far carried out numerous experiments to answer one of the basic relevant question: to what extent does the virtual world actually differs from our physicial world? The difference in dimenional aspect is obvious. Avatars live in a 3D world represented on 2D screens. But we are more and more living our day-to-day 3D lifes on screens too. Video-conferincing with ‘2D’ partners, seeing ourselves GPS-tracked on 2D maps.
To study whether the gap between the real and the virtual dimension is unbridgable, Veenhof carried out a series of experiments attempting to bridge that gap to find out about its possibly unbridgable nature. Experiments involving a connection of both of these worlds. Litteraly, conceptually, by mixing different dimensions or crossing the virtual/real boundary. His projects could be described ad mobility through dimensions. As is best explained by the “Second Life visits The Hague” project: a mapping of a virtual world onto the Google streetmap of the city of The Hague, thereby putting both world in one shared dimension. (http://www.sndrv.nl/tag/ )
Other relevant studies include:
“SL Walkie Talkie Walks” – Hooking up New York residents to virtual world counterparts on a simultaneous walking tour through Brooklyn and Second Life:
“Physical Virtuality” – Giving avatar residents of a virtual world true physical weight, enabling ‘physical’ encounters between them and real people:
In his talk, Veenhof will address the issues he came across moving on the borderline between these connected worlds, a reflection on progress so far and an explanation on conclusions to be drawn.
Greenhouse re-installed at the V2 Test_Lab session on july 9th 2009
– Which issues would you like to address with your work/project? And does
it make any explicit statements, or raise specific questions, about the
state of the world?
We live in a world dense with media sources providing us an exuberant amount of information straight into our digital lifestyle, reaching us directly or indirectly by means of peers in the social media networks we’re in. We are being updated and informed non-stop and on the go, we continuously need to scan a flood of texts and references to online content worth visiting, new developments or other findings. Technically we’re being offered an unequalled ease to view, study or enjoy all those experiences with the click of a button. But all we do is Twitter about our scoop (if we find it first, among with 10000 #scoop spotters) or we create a Delicious/StubleUpon/360 bookmark about it, tagged ‘todo’ or ‘read_later’.
We lack the time and concentration to experience the actual content being referred to. We live in a meta-culture where the references have become the main content.
If hyperlinks and references are the maximum level of information we’re capable to handle nowadays, I reckoned skipping the actual content would save me time and disappointments. So I developed the Publicity Plant to survive on references only. Blog-postings, twitter-tweets, it’s the minimal but sufficient level of attention to keep it alive. There is no content, as a true publicity plant has no true body. In that sense, this Publicity Plant isn’t a true publicity plant, because a real publicity plant is involved.
– Can you describe the context (and pertinence) of your work in
contemporary settings? Are they economical, social, ecological, cultural,
The origin of the project is the need for a new coming artist to claim a position in the crowded art scene. I’ve tried to create a feedback loop within the networked artist community. The project provided me with an proper excuse to send mass or direct emails-spam. Requesting publicity for a genuine cause, a real-life bouquet. Explaining how the growth of the plant was directly influenced by active and proper care from it’s supporters. And although being monitored and ‘controlled’ digitally, it dictated the natural ease and tempo of the project. As the seeded bouquet failed to develop any flowers, it showed me the limitations of applying my digitized thinking in areas outside of the computerized environment. It has a pré compared to digital creations too: plants are a very genuine visualization of statistical data. No way to positively readjust the statistical outcomes.
– Would your work (still) make sense if placed in the context of the 1980s
Technically, it could have been realized in the ’80, although it would work at less speed, and it would have a smaller potential audience, which reduces the informational qualities of the project. This publicity plant anno 2009 really provided insight in its publicity reach, because in theory, nearly anyone in the world could have been reached.
In the years around 2030 the technical achievements in ecological control will probably provide us with the knowledge and equipment to grow a plant showing multi-dimensional information visualized in the form, color and size of it’s leaves and twigs. Looking forward to that moment!
– Do you believe that the world is in crisis?
Some fundamental structures are being changed, and it’s happening in a very prominent, visual and loud way, just as many things nowadays become a topic of the world instantly, being voiced by millions around the globe in choir. Somehow, I do see a little crisis in the superficial ways we currently react and (not) act to cope with the overly informed lives we’re living, but I’m taking this fact as an opportunity too to create works that perfectly fit the contemporary type of audience.