Nothing compares to that first virtual reality experience. Whether Google Cardboard or Oculus rollercoaster while sitting in your living room is not just an emotional thrill, it marks a real turning point in how we consume digital media.
As the boundaries of the real and the virtual begin to converge, there is one medium of interest to us undergoing significant innovation - art.
VR art provides the kind of synesthetic experience Picasso and Van Gogh would have relished creating. Merging sound and image in an interactive environment offers a limitless canvas for artists to work on. And we really are just at the beginning.
So, here’s three ways VR is changing the world of digital art:
Creating immersive worlds
Since the very first Palaeolithic cave paintings in Lascaux, artists have endeavoured to bring you into the world of their work. Whether through rules of perspective or more advanced software, ever greater levels of realism have been progressively achieved. The goalposts have now shifted with the introduction of VR.
Some of the real pioneers in the field are musical performers. Where previously bands such as Gorillaz relied on the flat 2D video space to tell their story, then are now bringing their trademark animations to life through VR. Their video for Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) has 85 million views and counting. And with new virtual music videos being uploaded every week, expect to see a lot more amazing visual artwork from this direction.
Tokyo - MORI Building Digital ART Museum - https://borderless.teamlab.art/
The thrill of the new
When moving pictures were first introduced in the late 19th century, budding videographers would point their camera at anything and everything. From trains pulling up at stations, to suited men running after their hats on a windy day, any subject was fair game. The result was an exciting period of artistic vigour, where no stylistic rules or regulations existed.
The same is true with the flourishing of new VR artists such as Elizabeth Edwards and Gio Napkil. There is a wildness and ingenuity to their artwork, untempered by tradition. This sense of purity and passionate naivety gives the art world a renewed purpose and significance. Has art rediscovered its mojo?
Art of Wonder, Elizabeth Edwards
Giovanni Napkil - My money is on Buce Lee
Bringing art to you
The way we consume art is also changing. Traditional art galleries may quickly find the need to change and evolve, as the sheer convenience of VR art begins to set the agenda. Now we can view the latest VR from the comfort of our armchair, and not have to put up with queues, entrance fees, and opinionated gallery-goers.
This also poses questions about the way art is curated and selected. Who are the new taste makers? What factors decide the quality of a piece of VR art, and how do we ascribe value to it? All these are intriguing questions that will be decided in the months and years to come, as VR art begins to really carve out a significant space in the art world.
VR Art Gallery - Take the tour!
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By Richard Oxley