Sunday, May 14, 2006

Virtual Mother's Day

I started out our Mother's Day festivities with some old-school 18th century Virtual Reality at the Huntington Library. In other words, we went to see Sensation and Sensibility: Viewing Gainsborough's Cottage Door. The section on Sensibility and the Cult of Special Effects included a model of the De Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon, an elaborate mechanized stage which shows Satan marshalling his fiendish minions to the accompaniment of music and colored lights. The show also included models of viewing apparatuses, themed environments like a "tent room," and illusionary Enlightenment era perspective tricks.

Then we went traveled forward in time to see REDCAT's Ubiq: A Mental Odyssey by the French artist Mathieu Briand. Our family of four put on virtual reality head mounted displays (VR HMD's), which were designed so that a push of a button sent signals from another viewer's perspective in the room. It was interesting to be the height of a nine-year-old or be following the ambling gait of a thirteen-year-old through my goggles; I could also see what an alienating adult I looked like to them. The exhibit had some combination analog and digital remix fun, with a bank of five turntables, a mixer, a library of loop records, and a record-cutting machine. Alas, however, no pictures allowed for intellectual property reasons.

This blog entry is less politically analytical than most Virtualpolitik fare, so for more on the ideological meaning of the holiday for citizens in the public sphere, check out the day's pacifist history on Design Your Life.



Blogger Lupton said...

I bet your sons stenciled some great mother's day cards! Thanks for the DYL plug.

5:59 PM  

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