Written by Elouise Paabo z5059584
The Australian Museum located in William Street in the city of Sydney held an exclusive Virtual Reality experience earlier this year based on David Attenborough’s natural history documentaries. The experience was the first of its kind in Australia, after receiving immense praise for its season in London. The two exhibits were officially named, “David Attenborough’s First Life VR” and “David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive VR”(Vince, 2016).
The experience begins with the audience member applying the headset and headphones, and as Attenborough is lowered into a submarine beneath the water’s surface, you are lowered along with him. Kim McKay, the CEO of the Australian Museum states, “You’re sitting in the middle of that- you’re in the middle of the shot” (Jones, 2016). You can physically see the sharks swimming beneath you, and when you hear Attenborough talking from behind you, you can turn around and he is physically there. The world can be experienced in 360-degree cinematic life.
The experience was dependent upon the patron member being equipped with a Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headset and Galaxy S6 smartphones. The company behind the VR experience was Alchemy VR and Atlantic Productions (Vince, 2016).
The placement of this virtual reality experience is thoroughly appropriate, as the museum seeks to provide authentic experiences for the visitors and to help them understand the natural world. In my opinion, there is no better way to learn than through physical experience.
The Attenborough experiences have developed the possibility for people to experience the world around them in a way that has not been done before. Audience’s now have the possibility to truly experience things they pre-emptively would not have been able to experience, such as an intimate interaction with dinosaurs or a dive in the great barrier reef from the comfort of a museum in Sydney. These new deliverables portray productivity within our future as we may learn and discover new things about science and history in an efficient way. “Technology has finally caught up to the promises that AR wants to deliver: enabling people to collaborate and interact with digital information and media placed on top of what they see in the real world, and ultimately increase productivity” (Coding, 2016).
Evidently, the Art world is not the only world that is being completely revolutionised by VR, as the Australian Museum has taken an educational approach through the use of VR. Perhaps one day VR will be used in our class rooms instead of teachers. Virtual Reality is also set to be used in an array of other fields, “we’ve already spoken to porn stars about how VR is set to bring a “golden age” to the adult industry, we’ve met Trillenium the ASOS-backed company that wants you to browse clothes in their virtual shop, and we’ve glimpsed how VR can affect tourism, letting you time travel through the ages of historic destinations” (Knowles, 2015)
The David Attenborough experience at the Australian Museum gave people a real insight into the damage that was happening to our Great Barrier Reef, and ABC Ann Jones says that virtual reality could be a great tool for indicating real social change within our society, “As a tool, I don’t think we’ve quite realised how powerful it could be in the future to send those really important positive messages about caring for our natural world” (Jones, 2016).
Similarly, NewYork based media artist Rachel Rossion has revolutionised the way VR is utilised within art as she combines both painting with VR technology. Rachel has changed the way we see art because now we can literally see her images come to life. Rachel paints her artworks, and when audience member’s apply VR headsets, the paintings start to move and come alive.
Another artist that has used painting and Virtual Reality is Jess Johnson. Johnson’s artwork is innovative in the way that when a VR headset is applied, the audience actually see her paintings. There is no technological world, there is only the paintings. This concept has flipped our understanding of the methods of VR and the order in which we perceive technology and art.
So, with going underwater, paintings moving and then being allowed to actually go into a painting, what’s next for our already crazy world?
Coding, R. (2016). Look Here: A Comprehensive History of Augmented Reality. [online] Blog.metavision.com. Available at: https://blog.metavision.com/comprehensive-history-of-augmented-reality [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].
Johnson, J. (2016). Jess Johnson | NGV. [online] Ngv.vic.gov.au. Available at: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/jess-johnson/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2016].
Jones, A. (2016). Go beneath the waves with David Attenborough. [online] ABC. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/david-attenborough-great-barrier-reef-virtual-reality/7297312 [Accessed 23 Oct. 2016].
Knowles, K. (2015). VR Art: meet a new wave of mind-bending virtual reality artists. [online] The Memo. Available at: http://www.thememo.com/2015/09/30/vr-art-virtual-reality-art-fish-island-labs-trampery-london/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
Rossin, R. (2015). Rachel Rossin’s Lossy Exhibition Blends Virtual Reality with Oil Painting. [online] NEW INC. Available at: http://www.newinc.org/blog-post/rachel-rossin-blends-virtual-reality-with-oil-painting [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
Vince, C. (2016). David Attenborough’s Virtual Reality Experiences come to Australian Museum from 8 April – Australian Museum. [online] Australianmuseum.net.au. Available at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/media/david-attenboroughs-virtual-reality-experiences-come-to-australian-museum-from-8-april [Accessed 23 Oct. 2016].