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I'm creating a virtual reality experience which will take participants back to the first major exhibition of photography in 1839.
243 backers pledged £24,836 to help bring this project to life.

About

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£24,836

243

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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.

An early rendering of the virtual room
An early rendering of the virtual room

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.

Actual room build
Actual room build

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.

Your hand touching the vitrine
Your hand touching the vitrine

Ghost-like auras will indicate the presence of other guests to prevent collisions and enhance the sensation of time-travel.

Ghost like avatars and virtual firepace
Ghost like avatars and virtual firepace

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.

CG recreation of the Wilmhurst Static Electricity Machine
CG recreation of the Wilmhurst Static Electricity Machine

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.

View from outside VR room
View from outside VR room

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.

View from inside VR room
View from inside VR room

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.

Mat Collishaw

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

The team 

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.

Talbot's early production line
Talbot's early production line

 

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.

 

An early Talbot Photogenic Drawing
An early Talbot Photogenic Drawing

 

Chartist rioting
Chartist rioting

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.

A torch lit mob
A torch lit mob

As our digital world encroaches on more and more jobs, these issues find a parallel in our world today.

Robots welding, riveting, bonding and installing components
Robots welding, riveting, bonding and installing components
  •  

 

Pledge £5 for Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, plus a special digital wallpaper available to download.
Pledge £5 for Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, plus a special digital wallpaper available to download.

 

Pledge £10 or more for postcards, Contemporary updates of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers + previous rewards
Pledge £10 or more for postcards, Contemporary updates of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers + previous rewards

                                                  

Pledge £20 or more for Thresholds badge + previous rewards (Thresholds logo based on Talbot Photomicrograph of interference patterns on a crystal)
Pledge £20 or more for Thresholds badge + previous rewards (Thresholds logo based on Talbot Photomicrograph of interference patterns on a crystal)

 

Pledge £50 or more for A3 signed poster Contemporary updates of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers + previous rewards
Pledge £50 or more for A3 signed poster Contemporary updates of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers + previous rewards

 

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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.

Pledge £100 or more for Artist talk and tour of Thresholds + previous rewards
Pledge £100 or more for Artist talk and tour of Thresholds + previous rewards

 

Pledge £200 or more for VIP Reception + Artists talk and tour of the Thresholds + previous rewards
Pledge £200 or more for VIP Reception + Artists talk and tour of the Thresholds + previous rewards

 

Pledge £300 or more for SCANNER 1. C-type print, Edition of 25. 40cm X 46.45cm A contemporary update of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers
Pledge £300 or more for SCANNER 1. C-type print, Edition of 25. 40cm X 46.45cm A contemporary update of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers

 

Pledge £500 or more to be an extra in the Chartist demonstrations + previous rewards (excluding SCANNER 1)
Pledge £500 or more to be an extra in the Chartist demonstrations + previous rewards (excluding SCANNER 1)

 

Pledge £2,500 or more for Scanner 2. C-type print, Edition of 5. 90cm X 121.61cm A contemporary update of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers
Pledge £2,500 or more for Scanner 2. C-type print, Edition of 5. 90cm X 121.61cm A contemporary update of Talbot's Photogenic drawings, digitally scanned flowers

 

 

 

Thresholds Budget
Thresholds Budget

 

 

 

studio@matcollishaw.com

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.

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    Pledge £5 or more About US$ 6

    SILVER NITRATE

    Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, plus a special digital wallpaper available to download.

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    WET COLLODION

    Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, a special digital wallpaper available to download, plus a signed postcard, and a Thresholds supporter’s badge designed by the artist.

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    NEGATIVE FILM

    Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, a special digital wallpaper available to download, 3 signed postcards designed by the artist, plus a Thresholds supporter’s badge.

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    Book a slot

    All previous Rewards and secure a slot for 2 people in advance. This exhibition is likely to be very busy as it will admit only 10 people every 10 minutes. Guarantee your visit by booking ahead.

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    CINEMA

    Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, a special digital wallpaper available to download, plus a set of 6 x signed Postcards, designed by the artist.

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    COLOUR

    Subscription to exclusive Thresholds digital mailing list and receive behind-the-scenes updates, a special digital wallpaper available to download, plus a set of 6 x signed postcards designed by the artist, plus a signed limited edition A3 Poster designed by the Artist.

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    Pledge £75 or more About US$ 91

    SEDITION DIGITAL EDITION

    A stunning new video piece available on Sedition as a digital edition of 500. Display and experience the work on your TVs, tablets and smartphones. Plus all of the above rewards.

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    • Breaking Faith, digital edition on Sedition
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    DIGITAL

    LIMITED OPPORTUNITY. Visit the exhibition with the Artist in May 2017 and hear a talk about the ideas behind Thresholds. Plus all the above rewards.

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    VIP VIRTUAL REALITY

    VIP LIMITED OPPORTUNITY. Exclusive opportunity to attend the VIP preview of the exhibition before it opens to the public in London in May 2017 in the company of the artist and hear a talk about the ideas behind Thresholds. Plus all the above rewards.

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    Pledge £500 or more About US$ 604

    BE REVOLTING!

    Appear as a Chartist demonstrator outside the rooms windows, protesting against technology taking employment away from the people. This will involve several hours filming with a green screen in a London studio, and include dressing in supplied period costume. You will be listed as a cast member on the project website. Plus all the above rewards (excluding SCANNER 1).

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    Pledge £2,500 or more About US$ 3,022

    SCANNER 2

    C-type print, Edition of 5.
    90cm X 121.61cm

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    SCANNER 1

    C-type print, Edition of 25. 40cm X 46.45cm

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Funding period

- (60 days)