Virtual reality is finally emerging as an accessible medium. I am creating an experience that will take us back to the birth of photography, the medium that spawned all subsequent image-based technological innovations.
I am committed to making this experience as accesible as possible and currently have four venues around the country lined up for 2017. I would like to make entry as little as possible, so am appealing to your generosity to help make this happen.
The installation I am producing will be a portal to the past. It will place you inside the 1839 exhibition where you will see the artefacts and touch the cases that housed them. I will build an actual room with simple structures inside that tally geometrically with the objects you view virtually in your headset.
The purpose of these are to give you the illusion that you are touching the simulated objects in the virtual world. This is a relatively untapped area in VR and one that makes for a uniquely uncanny experience.
Ghost-like auras will indicate the presence of other guests to prevent collisions and enhance the sensation of time-travel.
A fire will crackle in the fireplace and you will feel its heat as you approach. Various technical innovations from the period will be on display in the glass vitrines.
In amongst them are the early works of Henry Fox Talbot.
Outside the actual room other visitors will wait to gain entry. Rectangular holes in the walls will enable them to look inside at the other guests as they explore the exhibition.
These holes are synchronised with paintings hanging on the walls of the virtual room and will simply form part of the décor to those wearing the headset.
There will be alternate levels of reality and unreality. This is a virtual reality of a virtual reality of reality.
We have four venues lined up for our tour: Photo London at Somerset House in May, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in June, Lacock Abbey in September, and National Media Museum Bradford in November.
I am a visual artist with over 25 years experience exhibiting in galleries worldwide. This is my first foray into virtual reaiity (VR). You can see more of my work at http://www.matcollishaw.com
We are developing the project with Paul Tennant at Nottingham University Mixed Reality Lab (part of their computer Science department), VMI Studio and The White Wall Company in London. The Mixed Reality Lab are developing the movement detection side of the project while VMI Studio are recreating our VR room in CG. The White Wall Company will be building the actual room. Work has been underway since January 2016 and we are now moving into the final phase. My partners on Thresholds are Pete James (a photographic historian), Larry Schaaf (an authority on Talbot), Paul Tennant (of Nottingham University Mixed Reality Lab), VMI Studio, The Science Museum, The British Library, The Royal Institution, The King Edward Grammar School, Lacock Abbey and The National Media Museum Bradford.
The project has been kindly supported finacially by King Edward's School, Birmingham, The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, Colmore Business District, Birmingham City University and The Art Fund.
The English photographer Henry Fox Talbot showed his early experiments in photography in an exhibition of cutting edge science in 1839 at the King Edward's School, Birmingham. These photographs are now impossible to see as Talbot had not by then resolved the process for fixing his prints and they have thus faded with time.
The Chartists were rioting in the city that year, demanding the right to vote and voicing opposition to the technological developments of the industrial revolution and the mechanisation of labour taking jobs from real people. Occasionally you will hear a disturbance and see a violent crowd gathered outside in the street, throwing missiles and shouting slogans.
As our digital world encroaches on more and more jobs, these issues find a parallel in our world today.
Pledge £70 or more for Breaking Faith, a SeditionArt video, created for this project to reflect on the fugitive nature of Fox Talbot's early photographic prints and their subsequent evolution into the digital realm.
Risks and challenges
Thresholds is not a typical Art project, it is a technically challenging venture. It is important to us that the exhibition engages the largest possible audience. Our main obstacle is raising sufficient funds, boosting those we have already secured from private and public spheres, to deliver this extraordinary and ground-breaking exhibition within a tight timeframe. We have been working tirelessly on the development now for over a year and we assure you every penny will be invested in producing an awe-inspiring experience. Who would not want to travel back to the dawn of photography? We are relying on your generosity to make this happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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