Being born in 1970 makes me 11 years old during 1981, one of the many golden years of video gaming. Donkey Kong, Galaga, Frogger and Defender were all released that year. Needless to say my interest in video games has always been healthy. I have also had a strong interest in VR and all it’s been promising since watching movies such as The Lawnmower Man – 1992 (yeah fairly daggy, but sells the concept early on), Strange Days – 1995 (excellent), Existenz -1999 (just good) and of course the Matrix Trilogy – 1999 – 2003 (without peer).
Well it seems that finally the gap between what was being promised and what is now available has been somewhat reduced. I visited Zero Latency in North Melbourne last week. At an empty warehouse in North Melbourne with 3 great friends I had my socks blown off playing virtual reality games. At 47 years old. It made me feel like a kid. You probably only get that sensation during your first experience, but it was real and mighty. Like seeing the Speeder Bike Chase in Return of the Jedi – 1983, on the big screen at 13, it blew me away. You only get that overwhelmed feeling a handful of times in your life.
Yes I was completely aware that I was in a very safe environment with a flat surface beneath me, but I still found myself approaching frightening drops with trembling fear. At one point a simple walk on what was a very non flat surface in the game had me stumbling like a drunk, completely lost in my safe surrounds. I leant over to pat a nonexistent frog, and also found myself arching my back to take in the whales swimming overhead! The amount of disc space and processing power strapped to our backs must have been huge, but went mainly unnoticed such has been the dramatic improvements in hardware. And in short time no doubt both the 3D modelling and texture mapping will improve again and again. When the day comes that the experience is photo real, just wow!
The first of the two games was called Engineerium and rather pleasantly involved no guns or killing. As a team of 6 characters, our aim was to reach certain specific locations to unlock the next platform to advance through the puzzle. I could really feel a sense of potential for this sort of game for teaching / encouraging people to work together in a simulated environment to get a task completed. Or just for the pure sense of wonder. You really feel the potential of the VR technology.
The second (which seems to be typical of the VR experience), was a classic first person shoot-em up. Whilst we were adult enough to not choose the Zombie Survival option, we did play Singularity – the secret military space station option that plays out in a very similar way – you shoot a heap of stuff. Yes the environment is amazing, especially when you find yourself entering large open spaces from much smaller tunnels and lifts, and there truly is a sense of comradery in working together to shoot all the stuff (mainly robots that don’t bleed, it really is well worth trying). But you can’t help but feel that the whole potential of the technology is being lost in emulating the experience of killing? Or I am just turning into a big ol hippie.
Highly recommended. visit www.zerolatencyvr.com
To use words of his own, “The result is beautiful imagery both abstract and very real.” So true. Jaw dropping piece from clearly gifted animator Brett Foxwell. Not unlike a medical scan of the body, but far more interesting and beautifully put together with sound and edit. Not a lot of technique is revealed, but it’s basically a stop motion piece, sand some wood, take a photo, sand some wood etc. The end result is stunning, almost like time travel. Truly a very patient man, there are many other interesting projects to see at his website.
Apparently there is a shortage of urban space in Valencia, Spain. Fernando Abellanas has a solution, a pop-up studio built into the underside of a traffic bridge at an undisclosed location. While most likely not legal and therefore not permanent, it’s a very creative idea which shows true dedication to his original thought. You can read more about the project here.
Words is a beautiful little typography based video project from Enle Li & Liz Xiong. Complete with great sound, the video captures the everyday with just words and colours. I was moved with it’s simplicity. Well done.
Wow. How have I only just heard about this ambitious design project the day after it finished? Sydney based designer Pete Majarich has redesigned a movie poster a day for the past year. I watch a lot of movies, I love movies. His minimal take on well known movies often says a great deal more than the original posters. Maybe it’s because the movies are familiar, but I find most of these to be improvements.
Some of my favourites below. The poster for “Primer” is fabulous. Some of the posters are even available for purchase at his website. And all posters can be seen at his tumblr account. Well done Pete.
Well I understand the concept, however I’ll leave the maths to John. Stunning sculptures, printed from 3D models by 3D printers. Once printed the models are set upon spinning mounts and lit by strobe light to give a remarkable floating effect. Many more curious mathematical and geometry projects can be seen at John’s website.
Does my fascination with space know no bounds? hahahaha It seems Benedict Redgrove also enjoys the wonders of space. His amazing looking project “NASA – Past and Present Dreams of the Future” is a long term photography project which culminates with an exhibition and book in 2018. I’ll be ordering a copy! His website is full of amazing projects – I also thoroughly enjoyed his “Tennis Balls” film, mesmerizing stuff.
I was blown away by these images. Stunning observations of flight by Xavi Bou of Barcelona brought about from a lifetime love of nature and birds. Like long exposures that reveal something unseen – beautiful stuff Xavi, well done indeed. More information and images can be found at his website.
Last month I was lucky enough to visit Carriageworks in Sydney to see the Bjork Digital exhibition. I have seen quite a few VR demos in my time, but this was by far the most impressive. The experience involved being part of a small group, which was then lead through the 5 unique spaces, 4 of which required the use of a VR headset. The fourth exhibit found me on the floor, such is my ability to “let myself go”. My partner laughed out loud. I do enjoy a great VR experience – they can be quite like dreaming.
The final piece was truly astounding. A full size glowing electrified digitally illustrated version of Bjork wanders about singing. With the VR headset cables tethered from above, you are able to move around, follow and even step inside Bjork. Mind blown. Still very personal as opposed to shared experiences, fascinated to see where VR is heading.
There is arguably a very special something about Bjork and her diverse output, she genuinely breathes creativity, must be all that Icelandic fresh air.
Stunning video from the Mediated Matter Group. As per their website, “our focus is on Nature-inspired Design and Design-inspired Nature”. At the cutting edge of where human meets computer, it appears that we may not even recognise our future interfaces as anything but “natural”. Sort of spooky and exciting all at the same time. Digital, computational petri dishes! Haunting.
Did you know that Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh designed and sold a series of eye popping art rugs back in 2009! He did. I did not know. They are very dynamic. I like them. Too nice to wipe your feet on – these are rugs for the wall. No idea if they are still available for purchase, but you can see the full collection here.