UNCANNY explores 3D virtual environments where the dialectic relation between the viewer and the image creates immersive experiences that oscillate between real and virtual space. As Lev Manovich states, “the visual language in our modern period is characterized by the existence of another virtual space, another three-dimensional world enclosed by a frame and situated inside our normal space”. Through the work of five artistic approaches involving worlds of futuristic fiction, UNCANNY progressively takes us from the idea of visual environments to the physical sensorial experience of them – in Manovich’s words, from the screen to screenless.
Alfredo Salazar-Caro’s “Triptych AKA Miami Booty Bass” is a study of classic portraiture translated with 21st century tools. It re-examines the masterpiece Sagrada Familia con ángel músico, Santa Catalina de Alejandría, Santa Bárbara, (1510–1520) from the anonymous painter simply known as Master of Frankfurt. Using 3D modeling software and motion capture to portray iconographic forms of churches and drones, “Miami Booty Bass” adds a new footnote to a millennium-old conversation.
“Alien ship” by Giselle Zatonyl invites the viewer to navigate a futuristic fantasy; a 3D virtual space with clear references from videogames and science fiction. Experimenting with digital textures and volume, Zatonyl creates an uncanny environment where a digital sculptural entity, a luxury machine, looms over organic forms merging into water.
In ¨RandomAccessData¨, Eva Papamargariti creates a dialectical narration between visual and verbal references that explores the role of search engines and tagging in cyberspace. Streams of data and information coalesce into a tag cloud made up of random thoughts about post-internet art, radical utopian groups of the ’60s, and today’s virtual reality tools. A surreal territory unfolds as a voiceover makes uncanny references about concepts like distribution and reproduction of images, data flow, immersive experiences and the Internet, real identities versus digital identities in cyberspace.
Leo Castaneda explores physical experiences of virtual reality. “Item 93201” is a multilayered piece that merges the virtual with the real. A large futuristic sculptural piece inhabits the gallery and functions as a bridge between the virtual and real space. Through a VR headset embedded in the sculpture the viewer can enter an augmented reality environment, a setting conflicted between luxury and oddity. As the viewer navigates this space he encounters elements of the physical in the virtual, objects like the sculpture itself and a painting that also hangs in the gallery. Now the virtual and the actual unfold in an intertwined dialogue, which space is actually mirroring the other?
“81 Points of View (Autoplay)” by Sebastian Schmieg is media-archaeological sculpture that proposes a setup which overlaps perceived with virtual reality. Utilizing old and obsolete technology, it is disconnected from the common notion of technological progress.
81 Points of View (Autoplay) operates in between modern devices that implement augmented reality, and optical machines invented centuries ago. Where as media technology becomes smaller and eventually invisible, the piece turns that development up-side-down: due to its transparent setup, the sculpture‘s mode of operation turns out to be the actual subject matter. Schmieg combined modern devices that create augmented realities with antiquated ones that create more basic optical illusions, drawing a line through centuries of experimentation with mediated reality.
UNCANNY was presented at REVERSE art space in New York City on September 2015.