He served as an official Australian war artist and has exhibited worldwide, including at the Venice Biennale. Now the video artist is exploring a new frontier: virtual reality.
Do you recall your first virtual reality (VR) experience?
Leo Faber, co-founder of the Badfaith VR collective I belong to, introduced me to it in 2016. We watched a documentary called The Displaced and a Chris Milk animation, Evolution of Verse. It was mind-blowing.
At what point did you start working with VR?
A few days after that. The first one I did was Reversed
Readymade. I re-created Marcel Duchamp’s 1913 sculpture, Bicycle Wheel, and had a professional BMX rider ride it around the camera, orbiting the viewer.
What VR technology have you experimented with?
You can travel with Samsung Gear VR and show others the experience. Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive system are incredible because you can move through volumetric video, an emerging video format featuring moving images of real people that exist truly in 3D.
Can you explain how someone experiences your VR works Orbital Vanitas and Storm Rider [to be released late 2017]?
With basic VR equipment: a headset and headphones. The soundtrack is important in VR because it gives you cues. Orbital Vanitas was exhibited at the Sundance Film Festival in January with a Positron Voyager chair, which had haptic feedback [vibrations in the back of the chair] to help with the sense of being rumbled along.
What artists experimenting with VR do you admire?
Everyone from Australian performance and tech artist Stelarc to people pioneering in the VR cinematic space, such as Canadian company Felix & Paul Studios.
Do you think about archiving your works?
The idea of futureproofing seems attractive. But I’m not sure I want the work to continuously migrate into the latest technology. I like the fact that it would stay in hardware produced around the time it was conceptualised, because that represents how people saw it.