Virtual Reality

As computers have made exponential gains in power, and expanded range of peripherals has helped to contribute to increasing interactivity and rising potential for personal immersion into another reality, or virtual reality. Computers by their nature require some type of input, from a keyboard, mouse, or even a video camera. As this technology has improved, video games have become more interactive, generating increased sales in games like Nintendo’s Wii and the Xbox Kinect. Virtual reality makes for some interesting possibilities into art, especially interactive art.
            DE PROXÉMICA” is a video installation that appears to interact with not only one, but potentially multiple viewers. The installation seems to detect a viewer’s distance in space, and time, in relation to multiple prerecorded images of several people. Depending on how close the active observer gets to the people in the image, the recorded people appear to react to the closeness of the watcher. Some of the prerecorded people appear to get antagonistic, while other only appear to glace at and make note there is someone near them. The interactivity of these spectators and the life-size images of the installation seem fairly dynamic and do produce a type of virtual reality in an artistic setting. The different reactions of the prerecorded images tend to lead one to ponder the wisdom of approaching certain people, while some that appear harmless may seem to desire a fight, while others society might consider strange or weird, react in minimal degrees.
            The one reaction I tended to find interesting was the man sitting with his face in his hands, when a person would get close he would raise his face out of his hands, revealing clown makeup or whiteface; while he may not have indicated aggression, the image seemed to express anxiety. The effect was essentially creepy. The video I saw of this piece only displayed perhaps ten or eleven images that display varying degrees of response, but each was fairly unique and probably induced to elicit different emotions and responses from the viewing audience. There also appears to be some sort of randomness to the project, although it may be due to the limited video I could find. It appears possible that after the “train” passes and the program resets, the images may appear by themselves or with another prerecorded image that had not been viewed previously. The piece also suggest that the same person’s image can and will have different responses to how the interacting viewer moves. The effect gives the idea they might have individual backgrounds than provide different responses to differences in proximity and speed of a spectator. DE PROXÉMICA is an interesting piece to say the least.

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