Why Virtual Reality is good for the Art

Virtual reality is an extraordinary way to involve people in any type of project. Music and art are no exception.
As far as music is concerned, the most illustrious example of virtual reality application is definitely Bjork. The Icelandic singer has confirmed her interest in new technologies with the video related to the song Notget, last track of the album Vulnicura.

The use of VR has also been a success in the arts. In fact, the Orwell Vr, a Milan company that deals with computer graphics and virtual reality, on the occasion of Klimt Experience, organized by Crossmedia Group, has developed KlimtVRExperience. It is a game-puzzle that the player, wearing Oculus glasses Samsung Gear VR, can complete by collecting objects in the virtual path within the frameworks.
It is an experience that allows the observer to immerse himself entirely in the art of Gustav Klimt and has had a remarkable success. Hosted by the deconsecrated church of Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence and then by the Royal Palace of Caserta, it has reached an unexpected number of visitors. In particular, after only one month of opening, in December 2016, the exhibition had already reached 16,000 admissions.
The attractive aspect of this exhibition/experience was undoubtedly the involvement of the public who had to compose a puzzle game during the “visit” to the gallery, wearing the Oculus. This aspect was evident by comparing the Klimt Experience with other artistic events that used VR but did not involve the viewer as it happens in the “experience.”

Another exciting aspect is that, through VR, young people are more attracted to art galleries. A traditional art gallery mainly attracts a mature audience, VR involves young people making them entertain even in learning the art.
I think people are attracted to the VR used in the arts for three reasons. VR allows:

  • to hear
  • to see
  • to modify and/or interact with the surrounding environment.

The artistic exhibition no longer takes place following the traditional rules, that is, the artist exposes, and the visitor observes, but the visitor becomes an active part of the art exhibition which, more correctly, is defined as “experience.”
We think, for example, at The Renwick Gallery, an institution part of the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., which hosted an exhibition from 2015 to 2016 that took place on the screens of the observer’s mobile devices.

Moreover, from the artist’s side, he is no longer limited by the 2 dimensions, but his creativity is able to “embrace” the 3 dimensions, guaranteeing an expressiveness and freedom of creation never seen before.

The museum has launched an immersive app of 360-degree artistic virtual reality called “Renwick Gallery WONDER 360” which allowed the viewer to explore his exhibition entitled “WONDER” in 3D, involving nine contemporary artists. The names of the artists were Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, Gabriel Dawe, Tara Donovan, Patrick Dougherty, Janet Echelman, John Grade, Maya Lin and Leo Villareal. They have created a specific site that hosted a virtual reality experience built with unusual materials, and that was accessible to any observer, even geographically distant.

Through VR the limits of space and time are exceeded, and anyone is able to enjoy a 3D artistic experience without any kind of difficulty.
Moreover, from the artist’s side, he is no longer limited by the 2 dimensions, but his creativity is able to “embrace” the 3 dimensions, guaranteeing an expressiveness and freedom of creation never seen before.
In conclusion, I believe that the reasons for the success of VR applied to art are essential both for the artist and the observer. A more significant creative space for the artist and direct artistic experience for the observer. These ingredients are and will be winners in attracting the masses to art galleries, while in the past the interest in art was the prerogative of a few.

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