Last week I took a day off work to attend Semi-Permanent Sydney 2017 in Carriageworks (Redfern). It was a 3-day event but only the agenda of Day 2 got me interested the most: “Integrating Technology into your craft” – a panel discussion where Google Tilt Brush engineers and an unprecedented suite of artists, designers discussing the possibility of using VR to push arts & creativity beyond the limits of physical world.
10 minutes before the panel started, I found myself still queuing in the long line of people waiting to experience what was called “painting in virtual reality”. When my turn came, I bitterly realised that without contact lenses the 3D canvas in front of my eyes became so blurry and the virtual palette in my hand got extremely difficult to control. But it was okay, I managed to choose the Space environment (with galaxies, stars and planets) and then the Antarctic (with a huge snowman) before starting to draw some random curves and wear the snowman’s face a snobbish look.
It was an interesting yet not easy or comfortable painting experience because the VR couldn’t give us a feeling of absolute control, especially when we’re so used to holding a pencil, sometimes closer to the nib to control over the accuracy of the lines and being able to adjust its pressure downwards on the paper. James Jeans – a Taiwanese artist – later in the panel talk made a very good point on how he felt his physical body was holding him back from truly immersing in his 3D arts, and that maybe only by uploading our consciousness into the cloud can we enjoy the virtual world with a new level of experience.
The panel also featured Australian Ballet dancer Sharni Spencer, who was on the last day of the event performing a dance while wearing VR headset and holding a digital controller. To be honest, it wasn’t something spectacular to see (not by casual eyes but via VR goggles or computer screen) but yeah isn’t creativity all about challenging usual things and explore new perspectives?
VR in still its earliest stages but it could gradually enhance the reality factor while fade out the virtual piece and eventually impact all of our senses – a truly fully immersive experience.
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Feature Image Credit: Semi-Permanent