A nightly journey in Virtual reality
Nature Does Not Long for Happiness
09 May 2018 | Exhibition + Talk
Guest artist at the opening event of Nature Does Not Long for Happiness by Avital Cnaani, Hadar Mitz Rotem Ritov, curated by the Hagar Bril @ Galil Gallery
Interactive Virtual Reality installation
An eerie journey to the outskirts of an Israeli village. Wearing the headset, players go through guided meditation and dive deep into a dark landscape. The fields surrounding Ma’as, the artist's Israeli hometown, inspired the landscape's design. Viewers explore these mysterious regions close to home and the uncharted territories of their own minds.
In the midst of the native biota, vestiges of British colonial rule, and ruins of Palestinian settlements, players encounter the inhabitants of the cultural unconscious, who reside together to form the sites of the artist’s childhood memories.
Festival De Cannes - Israeli pavilion | Cannes, France (2016: as WIP)
A MAZE - nominee + exhibition | Berlin, Germany (2018)
GameOn! - exhibition | Buenos Aires, Argentina (2017)
The First International Digital Design Symposium and Festival - China University of Technology | Taipei, Taiwan (2018)
Beit Kandinof - Solo Exhibition Homescape, curator: Lior Sedan | Tel Aviv - Jaffa, Israel (2018)
Print Screen Festival - Artist in Residence + exhibition | Holon, Israel (2017: as WIP)
Haifa International Film Festival - VR Garden | Haifa, Israel (2016: as WIP)
DocAviv - Tel Aviv / Yeruham, Israel (2016: as WIP)
Anination - Jerusalem, Israel (2016: as WIP)
Creator: Yotam Rozin
Sound design: Yinon Kuperstein | Jungle Studios (Yuval Bar-On)
Narration: Ayelet Yekutiel
Meditation Script Advisors: Micaela Terk, Mala Kline
Special Thanks Yinon Kuperstein | Sagie Pudinsky | Shiri Blumenthal | Micaela Terk | Almog Melamed | Idan Amati | Shachar Kantor | Wendy Geri | Tal Haring | Adi Lavy | Shirin Anlen (Asset Attribution: "Campfire," https://goo.gl/8XByuj by David Stenfors licensed under CC BY 4.0)
THE WAY I SEE IT
The piece asks what goes in and what stays out of our residential environments. These marginal spaces are also home to the historical vestige of British colonial rule and ruins of Palestinian settlements. The remnants mutely confront the occasional wanderer’s own historical narrative and identity. The strange composition of the landscape in the project promotes inquiry into the sociological and historical processes that form our environments, a process that was critical in the development of this magical-realistic digital reconstruction.
Like most landscapes that surround us, Homescapes is impressed with the subconscious of individuals and cultures. For every viewer there is something else lurking in the darkness, something else that is the phantom subject of their fears. For me, as a child, there was always the imagination of a malicious Arabic man. This racial and childish fear is also a subconscious voice of the culture I was immersed in. In confronting the viewers with another human presence, they are provoked to project their fear and invited to question their preconceptions of that Other, that which lies outside of our cultures or communities. The project attempts to spark these inquiries out of one’s own desire and curiosity to stroll through its dark digital landscape and discover what lies there. It introduces an alluring interactive experience of free but guided navigation that feels at once safe but mysterious, poetic but chilling.
Understanding The Landscape
Homescape, in a way, is a continuation of a series of photographic excursions and paintings (digital and traditional) that spans for about 13 years. The series traces the unique features that characterizes the Israeli marginal landscape. It shows the dry flora, the agriculture but also the historical ruins, the infrastructure and the modernistic structures. Some of the less recognizable buildings remain mysterious and do not communicate their story or function to the occasional wanderer.
The project is an evolution of Home - a project I began at the Steamer Salon VR lab, Tel Aviv 2016. During the 11 day lab, with the help of mentors and lectures introducing the participants with features and challenges of VR technology, I had to consolidate the concept and create a working prototype of the experience. In the last three days of hackathon, I teamed up with sound designer Yinon Kuperstein, 3D artist Shiri Blumenthal and programmer Almog Melamed, and together we created a Gear VR version, with a small patch of land and the general look and feel.
Designing The World
This demanded a variety of approaches and tools. Realizing the concept and designing the terrain demanded an intriguing combination of field work, design and theory and involved architecture, game and sound design, programming, image processing, and animation and a great deal of collaboration and coordination.
This was done with great help from friends, and especially with the help of Yinon Kuperstein and Sagie Pudinsky.