Beyond the Rubicon

Virtual Reality, Painting, 2018

︎ Image Gallery

In Beyond the Rubicon, the viewer comes across seven enigmatic paintings arranged around the VR headset before entering the virtual reality environment. Within the experience, seven digital sculptures slowly rotate in similar coordinates to the paintings. The space’s grainy black and white walls suggest texture evocative of movies, while binary code scrolling across the ceiling reveals the digital makeup of the virtual world.

The sculptures themselves are distorted 3D representations of bodies created by scanning moving images from film and television, their skins created using hand-painted UV textures. Depending on the visitor’s point of view, the objects change from familiar representations of powerful young heroines to conjuring up grotesque cubist portraits based on the erratic success of the scanning process. In addition to their changing visual composition, the objects have distinct aural signatures that comprise the soundscape of the piece, underlining the multisensory fabrication of space.

As visitors virtually touch and interact with these objects, assembling them into sound sculptures or holding them up to light to study their surface textures, hand controllers rumble until the sculpture fractures into digital fragments, producing momentary static and finally silence. After each of the objects disintegrates, the virtual space disappears and the viewer returns to the beginning of the piece. Made in cooperation with Trotzkind and the Berkeley Center for New Media.