Eye To The Future
Harper's Bazaar Malaysia|Harper's Bazaar Art Book

Is virtual reality opening doors to hundreds of simulated worlds? Zena Khan delves into the ever-evolving relationship between art and technology.

The relationship between art and technology is evolving at a more rapid pace than ever. New technologies not only inform the ways in which contemporary artists produce artworks, but also the ways in which these artworks are subsequently shown and interacted with. One of the areas in which this is most apparent today is through the rise of virtual reality (VR) artworks.

VR artworks have the ability to produce a fully immersive environment, a quality derived from the technology and accompanying hardware. The arrival of Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard has sparked a surge of interest in VR from artists, curators, and museums. While both sync a viewer's head movements to screen displays through the use of sensors and gyroscopes, they are worlds apart in cost and construction. Retailing at USD600, the Oculus Rift is a headset that provides 110' field of view and inbuilt speakers, allowing artists to cocoon audiences in just about any artificial environment they can dream of. Priced at USD15, the Google Cardboard, on the other hand, relies on a similar principle with 19th-century stereoscopes, as viewers can hold a smartphone up in front of a pair of biconvex lenses.

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