Thinking like a mountain
Sculpture with VR game
‘Thinking like a mountain’, SPACE Ilford, London, UK, 2021; ‘Deep Play’, SPACE Ilford, London, UK, 2021
Dimensions: h.240 x w.220 x d.220 cm
Materials: polyester resin, stainless steel, galvanised steel, aluminium, rubber, PLA, VR headset, 11.6 inch screen
A Virtual Reality game installation that invites an audience to virtually transform large rocks into smaller ones, pick up small rocks and balance them on top of one another to (re-)form larger rocks. The installation operates like an exquisite corpse, each participant encountering the virtual environment as the last person has left it. Its sculptural element functions as a three-dimensional manual, giving indications on how to play the game and navigate the virtual world. It is composed of hollow fibreglass rocks, attached to a centre pole via bearings, so that the viewer can spin each component and discover engraved metal plates. A screen is fixed on one side of the structure, showing the frontal perspective of the gameplayer on the other side, transmitting through the VR headset that is hung above a circular rubber mat.
The work was developed during a residency at SPACE London in 2020 exploring the theme of deep play and the cost of our gamified experiences in reshaping human-environment relationships. Inspired by Horticultural Therapy, a range of treatment programmes which are designed to improve mental and physical well-being through the pursuit of outdoor activities, the video game seeks to ascribe some of its therapeutic qualities to the digital realm, exploring opportunities virtual environments can offer to create new rituals for humans to ‘connect’ with their external landscapes.
With support from the Arts Council and SPACE
Photo credits: Agnese Sanvito