Interactivity and its relationship with immediacy and hypermediacy has been explored since media art was first popularised. Immersive space and responsive environments have also been explored. The phrase “The medium is the message” coined by Marshal McLuhan states that the form of the message conveys the way in which the message is perceived and is thus important for the artist to convey the message in the most appropriate fashion. With the recent adoption of virtual reality and augmented reality device these new mediums are now being adopted by artists and are able to communicate to their audiences like never before.
The work Hindsight (2016) by Kyle McDonald utilises virtual reality goggles and therefore the medium of an immersive space to convey a meaning that would be otherwise impossible with any other device. The message being the disconnection between the mind and the body whilst in a virtual world. The work consists of a person suspended in the air as they have virtual reality goggles on, the VR goggles shows the participant a view of themselves from above while the camera moves through a myriad of novel miniatures and dioramas. The camera then drops through the diorama and falls towards the participant, creating the sensation of falling for the participant while they are actually not moving. The artist thereby creates an out of body experience and questions the perceived nature of our sense of direction and the sensation of weight, through this the artist suggests that the nature of our senses are subjective. This is an example of an immersive environment that is immediate as there is no visible interface and the purpose of the artwork is to immerse the participant.
The work 10.000 moving cities – same but different (2015) by Marc Lee uses virtual reality goggles to allow the uses to access user generated content, news feeds, social media and videos from any city in the world, which, in the virtual world is projected on to buildings and allows the user to walk and interact within the city. The unique utilisation of the virtual reality headsets in this work is to communicate the specific differences in the type of media that people consume, whether that be the relevance of the news to that region or the language through which it is communicated the differences are brought to the forefront of the user’s attention through the use of the medium. This works consists of a hypermediate component in that a user must choose a city but once in the virtual world the user is fully immersed and the content is immediate.
The work External Interior (2015) is a traditional interactive artwork by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer consisting of an inside-out disco ball with 1600 one way mirrors which allow an external viewer to see inside the disco ball but do not allow the viewer inside the ball to see outside. The artist communicates a similar message to the work Hindsight (2016) in that our perception of reality is subjective but the message is construed in a completely different way through the use of the medium whilst External Interior is focused on the perception of others Hindsight is related to the perception of ourselves. The work is immediate and unlike the other artworks is not immersive instead it is responsive as it requires the participation of a third party for the participant to realise that their perception of reality is different to that of someone outside the ball.
Lee, M. (2016). Marc Lee, 10.000 moving cities – same but different. [online] Marc Lee. Available at: http://www.1go1.net/index.php/Main/MovingCities [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].
Lozano-Hemmer, R. (2016). Rafael Lozano-Hemmer – Project “External Interior”. [online] Lozano-hemmer.com. Available at: http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/external_interior.php [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].
McDonald, K. (2016). Highsight. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/144061990 [Accessed 28 Oct. 2016].
McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q. and Agel, J. (1967). The medium is the massage. New York: Bantam Books.