Sirens of Odyssey | DistantObject#2

DescriptionSirens of Odyssey | DistantObject#2 consists of a projection and oar-like interface on one side of the wall, an optical illusion object on the other side. The oar-like interface is connected with the illusion object as one object physically. The audience can interact with the virtual world in the projection through the oar-like interface. Since the oar and optical illusion is one object, when user engages the interface the optical illusion object will move together.

SetupSirens of Odyssey | DistantObject#2 consists of two separate yet connected pieces. The two pieces are separated by a wall.

One side of the wall is a rowing boat journey in virtual reality. The user is confronted with the projection of the virtual world and an oar-pretending interface. The projection shows an empty boat on a vast sea with morphing, surreal landscape and sky. In front of the boat, using common platformer game visual language(i.e. most Mario game), the path is presented to the user with spinning gold coin. The setting in virtual world is intended to give an uncanny sense of reality, which user can effortlessly relate to, yet feel the artist’s otherworldly assertion. When the user interact with the oar-pretending interface, rowing the fake oar, the boat will advance, following the spinning gold coin path. The user has no way to alter the course of the boat. There is no way for the user to decide to go left or right, but they can only choose to advance to get more coins or to stop to float on the sea.

The other side of the wall is an optical illusion piece. The illusion is built with three plates to form a cube in negative space. The cube formed by the three plates is negative in reality, yet when audience look at the object with one eye, one could register the negative cube as a positive cube. The illusion is complete when the cube is slowly moving in a circular path, it gives a false sense of a rotating three dimension cube.

The pointy end of the cube is connected to the oar-pretending interface. In reality, the interface is an oar with an illusion cube as the blade. But since they are separated by a wall, the users would not acknowledge until they connect the two works together. Hence, when there is user interacting with the virtual reality, the illusion cube will seemingly floating on a gallery wall. Even though the user does not aware, the cube is actually moved with the effort of user through the interface, providing an organic movement that is difficult for a mechanical device to imitate.

DistantObject#2 is a sustainable system of interaction, providing entertainment and illusion.

ConceptSirens of Odyssey | DistantObject#2 is a sustainable system of illusion and entertainment production. It invites audience to interact with the interactive virtualworld, a promise of entertainment. The system extract labor and organic movement from the user with the responsive landscape. The optical illusion object on the other side is a distilled representation of the system. Audience has to see the illusion by voluntarily covering one eye and trying to tell their head to see the convex cube. The optical illusion itself is superficial, yet mesmerizing, but the object also translates the user movement into an anonymous performance for the audience.

The interactive virtual world gives minimal choices to user. Once engage with the system, user can only choose between keep rowing or stop rowing, the system avoids the possibility for any creative or emancipatory interaction. Yet the virtual world tries to provide random responsive environment to keep user entertaining and keep exploring the endless repetitive sea. The “game” has no points or reward system, there is only endless morphing landscape and path.

The work explores the relation between labor in general and illusion/entertainment. With current digital technology, our labor is often a byproduct in our interaction with digital world which we might consider entertainment. Yet the labor is channeled to destination that is unknown to user as resource. This work is trying to provide minimal illusion/entertainment to keep user engaged to drive another illusion/entertainment for the audience in the exhibition.

In Sirens of Odyssey, the interaction between user, audience and system is the heart of the work. It is an attempt for me to make a machine with semi-transparent blackbox, in order to provide a better view to see the manipulation/interaction working(when look hard enough). Sirens of Odyssey is a sustainable system of interaction, providing entertainment and illusion. It is a piece in which active participation is rewarded.