Along this MA I’ve been investigating the 3dimensional internet and the addictive and spiritual aspects that the net consumer displays. We are creatures of habit, and many of those habits are reflected online. Whilst working on the research paper for Unit 1, I noticed the importance of religion in my artistic interests. I’ve been highly influenced by the old masters and specifically religious subject matter. The effects these works had on its audiences reflected their spiritual narratives.
Propaganda is rarely used positively, but I’d argue that each and every religion has created a prolonged style of propaganda throughout history. The difference between this subject matter and that of more infamous examples of propaganda is its ability to shape the minds of individuals and the running of societies in positive directions. Clearly this is very debatable and one could argue that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have in fact spread as much hate and violence as they have peace and serenity….
Anyhow… delving too deep into the make up of popular religions is dangerous territory, and I don’t particularly mean to cause offence so I’ll stop there.
My interim piece last year ‘Congregation’ has pushed me to look further into the internet user as religious practitioner. The piece I’m developing for the final show has been focused on the idea of the device as a gateway into a data-driven spirituality that connects global societies with media and live information. These connections overlook the barriers of religion and belief and with the inclusion of so many users, allow each person to access, engage and manipulate the media and information they want. Throughout the masters I’ve looked at the spectrum of a users internet habits and the potential extremities. Like in anything, there are extremists, this is true to say for any religion, belief or spirituality. I’m having a change of heart as I try to iron out my thoughts with this final piece. I’ve focused on creating a Chapel or Church most likely based on my own background in Christianity, however, this was an error.
My research isn’t about religion and therefore I shouldn’t have focused so hard on this setting. As I focused on the Church, I began to expand on the idea with specific references to Christianity. Since my initial project proposal my interest has been in the prospects of Virtual Space and Digital Identity. I looked at architecture, addiction, anatomy, consumer electronics, propaganda and the imbalance between physical and digital. After the Research Paper, I began focusing on spirituality as a prime example of the way an identity can interact with the internet. Somewhere between this research I became fixated on the idea of a religious setting for my final piece. I have now changed this aspect to reflect a more abstract approach to what constitutes spirituality and what better reflects the practice I’ve developed over the past 2 years.
I’ve focused on the simple idea of representing the internet in 3D space. After changing the environment dramatically from previous test shots, I’ve had a lot more success with my VR environment. I decided to look back at my previous works, most notably the ‘Signals’ and ‘Streams’ works I’ve developed. I took this aesthetic and dedicated my time to re-creating it in VR. Below is a small screen recording of the environment. My overall dream of texturising each line with live media has unfortunately been dampened for the final show, but I will continue to work on this after I finish the MA.
There is a lot of work to be done, but this better represents where I hoped the digital side of my piece would be at this stage.
VR headsets are poised to take on the commercial technology market in the coming year, however their true application could be in the hands of designers and architects, as this BBC news article shows. Giving warship designers the ability to see and travel through their latest designs, is essential in an industry that has to make the most of its money.
BBC Article: “Virtual Reality aids BAE Warship Design:”
“Virtual reality technology is being used in the construction of Royal Navy warships in a bid to build them more cheaply and efficiently.
BAE Systems hopes the technology system will become a fundamental part of the engineering process.
“Visualisation technology is transforming the way we design, build and deliver complex warships,” said Mick Ord, managing director at BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business.
“By creating a virtual prototype, we can mature and optimise a ship’s design and gain a real understanding of the vessel and the experience of those serving on board before manufacturing begins.”
The system has been installed in three sites – Glasgow, Portsmouth and Bristol.
Visualisation suites with huge screens allow engineers, equipped with special glasses and a controller, to walk around the computer-generated ships and inspect the innards of the vessels to see whether there are any potential issues with the design.
Howard Wheeldon, an independent defence analyst said that the system had a lot of benefits.
“There are a lot of people involved in ship design so to be able to do it this way is absolutely brilliant and should be the way forward in other areas of engineering,” he said.
Engineers at BAE Systems, the firm contracted to build vessels, are creating virtual versions that can then be examined in detail before any actual steel is cut.
Previously engineers had relied on wood or cardboard mock-ups of ships.
The system is currently being used to develop three offshore patrol vessels.”
The video below is from another BBC news article from a little over a year ago. It shows a similar technology used to map the leaning tower of Pisa. Jump to 2:02 to see the user interacting with an entirely digital impression of the tower. Using projectors and controllers, he is able to move through an environment made up of different data points. The contraption used to measure the space jumps around almost like an out-of-control garden hose, but the final impression of the building, and the way the user interacts with it, is a very exciting prospect.
This sort of technology used in a visual art context could help to create more intuitive and immersive installations, films, sculptures, artworks etc. I’m especially interested in the ability to create real-life size buildings and sculptures within virtual space. This is a technology i aim to get my hands on sooner or later….