Styles and Customs of the 2020’s – A Dystopian VR Fine Art Exhibit of the Near Future

How do new photographic technologies shape the virtual realm? This is the question explored by Scatter and four visionary, international artists, Kim Laughton, Rachel Rossin, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, and Alan Warburton at the Carnegie Museum of Art‘s grandiose Hall of Architecture this spring and summer. Styles and Customs of the 2020s is a dystopian room scale VR art installation commissioned by the Hillman Photographic Initiative and prompted by collaboratively generated text published by DIS magazine.

Guided and supported by Scatter, each artist was commissioned to conjure a unique dystopian VR portal into the not so distant future. The impetus for each of the artist’s resulting VR worlds were prompted by snippets of text judiciously selected by each of the artists from a collaborative writing project commissioned by DIS. Subsequently, each VR world is a unique, beautiful, and slightly unsettling experience, yet all share decontextualized threads torn from the fabric of the original source text. The interrelated VR pieces are not passive experiences; the worlds require the viewer to physically move within the VR space to completely unwrap hidden meanings, mechanics, and messages. The four near future VR worlds are connected by a timeless, VR, fire lit cave. The cave functions as gateway of sorts from which the participant gently enters and exits the separate artists’ realities and acts as an interstitial respite between the dystopian VR words.

Vermont Digital Arts‘, Elliott Mitchell, had the good fortune to work with the cutting edge innovators at Scatter and DIS, as well as the four talented fine artists on this ambitious VR art project. Having roots in the fine arts as well as game development, Elliott contributed to Styles and Customs of the 2020s in the role of Technical Director and Lead Developer.

Styles and Customs of the 2020s opened March 16th and will run until September 4th at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh where you can experience the exhibit in person. Not wanting to spoil the joy of discovery for those of you who have yet to visit the museum, we have been intentionally vague in our descriptions of the artist’s VR worlds. After the exhibit concludes, we will post an update with more detailed images, videos and descriptions covering the breadth of the exhibit. If you wish to read more about the exhibit now, take a look here.

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Check back soon to see what surprises are in the pipeline!