In which I go for a walk
A significant number of significant events in my life have been the result of chance occurrences. One such occurrence, though the resulting event is still waiting to be significant, is a call for proposals which my WLC colleague Andrew Stuck sent over late last year, for a 1-month residency in northern Sweden.
I responded with the idea of constructing an immersive soundwalk as a murder mystery, where those listening were going to use bone-conducting headphones to navigate through the space in which the piece was set. The requirement for the call was to use AR or VR, so I thought my proposal appropriate.
They liked the idea, but the proposal needed to also be consumable within their gallery, a shipping container that is going to travel the Swedish countryside.
As an alternative, I proposed an experience where the public, sitting in a chair in the gallery, would look through a virtual window, where, in turn, a number of vistas would unfold and where I, for each of these, at some point would briefly walk through the scene. First from right to left, then, halfway through the video, ‘arriving’ at the venue itself, and then walking from left to right, returning home.
They liked that idea too, and so now I’m sitting at the Viracopos Airport, São Paulo’s third international airport, on my way to Europe, where I will do some walking in cities and countries that will take me on a crab walk to northern Sweden, and the town of Moskosel.
At some point, the parameters of the exhibition space changed again somewhat, which will mean that my work is likely to become more immersive, less physical. On the one hand, that is going to be interesting, but perhaps also a bit more of a challenge, and, in a way, also more VR, and less AR.
I am not a big believer in VR, but also very strongly feel that (good) AR is going to change the world, perhaps as early as this year, with the expected introduction of Apple Glasses.
My plans go much further than ‘just’ an immersive AR/VR experience in a gallery that will tour the Swedish countryside. And, these plans involve some fairly cutting edge, if already immensely popular, technologies, while using them in a quite conventional, but uncommon, context.
I’m keeping the details a bit close to my chest, for now, and if I manage to pull this off, the result, I intend and hope, will question the meaning of human creativity in this day and age.
Indeed, a bit ambitious, and I’m a bit anxious, too.
On a lighter note, I will also upload one photo a day to a Flickr album, In which I Go For a Walk.
My journey will take two full months, 15 flights, and visits to 12 countries, only one of which I have not visited before, even if I nearly was able to touch it, from the other bank of a certain river in Jordan.
One practical challenge I will face is this: Even long-haul flights now no longer appear to include check-in luggage, and Europe’s budget airlines not even include hand luggage.
So, I’m traveling with a ‘personal item’ only. It feels appropriate, in an age where extravagance and minimalism live side by side.
So, here I am, at the start of this journey, in which I go for a walk.