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Speculative Cultures

VR Exhibition Speculative Cultures Opens in New York

The exhibition runs through until April.

Artists from around the world have been embracing the possibilities of virtual reality (VR) for several years now, creating artworks and installations using the technology. Today sees the opening of a new exhibition dedicated to VR called Speculative Cultures, taking place at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center in New York City.

Speculative Cultures
Scott Benesiinaabandan, Blueberry Pie Under the Martian Sky, 2016, screenshot of VR artwork

Speculative Cultures is part of exhibition series Critical Approaches to Virtual Reality Art which was developed by Erandy Vergara and Tina Sauerlaender at the invitation of the Goethe-Instiut and Studio XX in Montreal. It features the work of seven artists as they ‘engage with their personal experiences, memories, and cultural heritage in order to reflect on today’s social coexistence.’

“Through their works, the artists shape their hopes and desires into virtual environments representing imagined cultures. Their speculative virtual worlds create different perspectives on established narratives and traditions, as well as images and symbols. The artists’ projects thereby open possibilities for leaving accustomed views and familiar structures behind and exploring different notions of one’s own personal surroundings and conditions of human existence,” the synopsis explains.

The artists are:

  • Moreshin Allahyarl – ‘She Who Sees the Unknown’ – Re-appropriates goddesses, female jinn – supernatural or monstrous creatures in Arabian mythology – and figures of the Middle East from ancient illustrations and mythical stories.
  • Scott Benesiilnaabandan – ‘Blueberry Pie Under Martian Sky’ – The installation takes users on a journey seven generations into the future.
  • Matias Brunacci – ‘Virtualshamanism’ – Takes users on a shamanistic experience in six different worlds.
  • Yu Hong – ‘She’s Already Gone’ – Users are placed into four moments in the life of a female Chinese protagonist.
  • Francois Knoetze – ‘Virtual Frontiers’ – A series of six short VR films shot in multiple locations in Grahamstown, South Africa.
  • Erin Ko and Jamie Martinez – ‘Neo Kingdom’ – Inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Neo Kingdom explores mortality and death in the digital age.
Speculative Cultures
Yu Hong, She is already gone, 2017, screenshot of VR artwork

Speculative Cultures: A Virtual Reality Exhibition opens today, in the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery located at The Shelia Johnson Design Center, NYC. It’ll run until 14th April 2019, further details can be found here. VRFocus will continue its coverage of VR and its place within the world of art, reporting back with the latest announcements.

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