Words and virtual reality paint immersive stories.
Avante-garde performance artist Laurie Anderson has a new VR experience. Her latest work with Taiwanese artist-programmer Hsin-Chien Huang, Chalkroom, lets you float through a virtual world made of letters while the O Superman singer narrates.
“It’s made of words and stories and it’s a big kind of edifice covered with language and drawings,” Anderson said in an interview with Louisiana Channel. “I wanted to see what it would be like to travel through stories.”
Various rooms will present activities ranging from creating 3D dimensional sounds to drawing and sculpting with the HTC Vive’s controllers.
“But mainly, you can fly. That was my main inspiration to do it,” Anderson said.
She cautioned that it can take some practice to catch your balance in the world.
“Some people have fallen off the chair or whatever,” Anderson said.
When programmer Hsin-Chien Huang approached her two years ago about doing a VR collaboration, she said “no” because she thought VR was just “a game.”
“[But] if I could make it very homemade, dark, weird, shadowy, sort of like a different space — a different kind of mental space — then I would be interested,” Anderson said.
Chalkroom is the result of the pairs’ years of experimenting with VR.
“My interest in VR is when you can map a real space and have fun seeing the difference between the virtual and the real space,” Anderson said.
Anderson wasn’t involved in programming the VR app due to the steep learning curve, but she said VR is an emerging medium for artists.
“It’s a whole new world of not just vision, but sound,” Anderson said. “Artists are just starting to do this now.”
Chalkroom won “Best VR Experience” at the Venice Film Festival, and will tour at museums across the U.S. and Europe. It debuted this August at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.
“[Chalkroom] is a library of stories, and no one will ever find them all,” Anderson said.
You can watch the full interview with Anderson and learn more about Challkroom in the video below.