Virtual reality art at the turn of the millenium saw an explosion of creative exploration around this nascent technoloy.
Though VR art has much in common with media art in general, the affordances of the technology gave rise to unique
experiences, discourses, and artistic investigations. Women artists were at the forefront of the medium, shaping its
aesthetic and technical development, and VR fostered a range of artistic concerns and experimentation that was largely
distinct from closely related forms such as digital games.
Today, a new wave of consumer technologies including 3D TV’s, gestural and motion tracking interfaces, and headmount
displays as viable, low-cost gaming peripherals drives a resurgence in interest in VR for interactive art and
entertainment. Designers, game developers, and artists working with these technologies are in many cases discovering
them anew. This paper explores ways of reconnecting this current moment in VR with its past. Can the artistic
investigations begun in previous waves of VR be continued? How do the similarities and differences in contexts,
communities, technologies, and discourses affect the development of the medium?
In this paper we present appARel, a creative research project at the intersection of augmented reality, fashion, and
performance art. appARel is a mobile augmented reality application that transforms otherwise ordinary garments with
3D animations and modifications. With appARel, entire fashion collections can be uploaded in a smartphone
application, and “new looks” can be downloaded in a software update. The project will culminate in a performance art
fashion show, scheduled for March 2013. appARel includes textile designs incorporating fiducial markers, garment
designs that incorporate multiple markers with the human body, and iOS and Android apps that apply different
augments, or “looks”, to a garment. We discuss our philosophy for combining computer-generated and physical
objects; and share the challenges we encountered in applying fiduciary markers to the 3D curvatures of the human body.
Augmented reality is way of both altering the visible and revealing the invisible. It offers new opportunities for artistic
exploration through virtual interventions in real space. In this paper, the author describes the implementation of two art
installations using different AR technologies, one using optical marker tracking on mobile devices and one integrating
stereoscopic projections into the physical environment. The first artwork, De Ondas y Abejas (The Waves and the Bees),
is based on the widely publicized (but unproven) hypothesis of a link between cellphone radiation and the phenomenon
of bee colony collapse disorder. Using an Android tablet, viewers search out small fiducial markers in the shape of
electromagnetic waves hidden throughout the gallery, which reveal swarms of bees scattered on the floor. The piece also
creates a generative soundscape based on electromagnetic fields. The second artwork, Urban Fauna, is a series of
animations in which features of the urban landscape become plants and animals. Surveillance cameras become flocks of
birds while miniature cellphone towers, lampposts, and telephone poles grow like small seedlings in time-lapse
animation. The animations are presented as small stereoscopic projections, integrated into the physical space of the
gallery. These two pieces explore the relationship between nature and technology through the visualization of invisible
forces and hidden alternate realities.
A fundamental pursuit of Virtual Reality is the experience of a seamless connection between the user's body and actions
within the simulation. Virtual worlds often mediate the relationship between the physical and virtual body through
creating an idealized representation of the self in an idealized space. This paper argues that the very ubiquity of the
medium of virtual environments, such as the massively popular Second Life, has now made them mundane, and that
idealized representations are no longer appropriate. In our artwork we introduce the attribute of clumsiness to Second
Life by creating and distributing scripts that cause users' avatars to exhibit unpredictable stumbling, tripping, and
momentary poor coordination, thus subtly and unexpectedly intervening with, rather than amplifying, a user's intent.
These behaviors are publicly distributed, and manifest only occasionally - rather than intentional, conscious actions, they
are involuntary and ambient. We suggest that the physical human body is itself an imperfect interface, and that the
continued blurring of distinctions between the physical body and virtual representations calls for the introduction of
these mundane, clumsy elements.
Dots and Dashes is a virtual reality artwork that explores online romance over the telegraph, based on Ella Cheever
Thayer's novel <i>Wired Love - a Romance in Dots and Dashes (an Old Story Told in a New Way)<sup>1</sup>. </i>The uncanny
similarities between this story and the world of today's virtual environments provides the springboard for an exploration
of a wealth of anxieties and dreams, including the construction of identities in an electronically mediated environment,
the shifting boundaries between the natural and machine worlds, and the spiritual dimensions of science and technology.
In this paper we examine the parallels between the telegraph networks and our current conceptions of cyberspace, as
well as unique social and cultural impacts specific to the telegraph. These include the new opportunities and roles
available to women in the telegraph industry and the connection between the telegraph and the Spiritualist movement.
We discuss the development of the artwork, its structure and aesthetics, and the technical development of the work.