travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation
 

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing, american avant-garde artist laurie anderson is flying audiences into outer-space with the UK premiere of her virtual reality work, to the moon. designboom WAS GIVEN A FIRST PREVIEW EARLIER THIS YEAR, when we met victoria chang, director of HTC VIVE arts in new york and experienced the incredible VR artwork.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

images © laurie anderson/hsin-chien huang

 

 

developed alongside taiwanese artist hsin-chien huang, ‘to the moon’ presents an imaginary vision of the moon using an amalgamation of images and tropes from greek mythology, literature, science, sci-fi space movies and politics. the result is a 15-minute journey including scenes of constellations in the shape of extinct life forms and words like ‘DEMOCRACY’, which are formed among the stars. with audiences flying through the skeletons of dinosaurs which morph into cadillacs, the experience is a clear comment on the state of our planet, or at least our worsening impact on it,

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

another part illustrates the moon as a dystopic dumping ground for plastics and nuclear waste. it finally concludes in a fireworks spectacle of stars exploding, but not until after the viewer’s virtual astronaut body dramatically tumbles away into deep space.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

‘what humans can and can’t do in the natural world is one of the several themes in to the moon,’ laurie anderson explains. ‘the piece is dedicated to the ancient chinese painter who made a huge vertical landscape – a painting of a mountain with groves of pine trees, a steep road winding up to the top, waterfalls, tiny hikers with walking sticks, thatched bamboo huts, and fishermen casting their nets in the sea far below.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

‘the painting was very intricate and it took many years to make. when he finally finished the painting, he walked into it. this is what we aim to do with to the moon, allow the viewer to literally walk into a work of art.’

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

anderson developed the installation with taiwanese artist hsin-chien huang – who previously worked as a game developer for sega and sony. the pair have been collaborating since 1994, after huang won a competition titled ‘new voices new visions’, judged by anderson. since then, anderson has worked with huang on several occasions, creating an interactive CD-ROM for her album ‘puppet motel’ and another virtual reality work titled chalkroom – which won the venice film festival best VR experience in 2018.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

as part of its UK premier, to the moon is currently being presented at manchester international festival alongside a new audio-visual installation. visitors of the festival can experience the installations from 12-21 july at the studio, royal exchange theatre, st ann’s square, manchester M2 7DH.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

it was originally presented at the louisiana museum of modern art, before later having its first exhibition in asia at art basel hong kong 2019, by taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC. originally founded in 1997, the company launched its virtual reality headset back in 2015, allowing users to move in 3D space using motion-tracked handheld controllers to interact with the environment.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

in 2017, HTC has developed its ARTS.VIVE program, which works with artists and institutions to create unique cultural experiences that can be accessed across the world. earlier this year it partnered with the american museum of natural history in new york city, creating a multi-player virtual reality experience that invites visitors to build a T. rex skeleton and watch it come to life.

travel to the moon with laurie anderson's virtual reality installation

 

 

the platform’s mission is to enable and preserve cultural heritage for the world while democratizing creation with digital innovation in the arts. other projects include ‘bringing to life the story of the mona lisa’ as part of the louvre museum’s seminal retrospective exhibition, leonardo da vinci, and a partnership with the serpentine galleries in london, which translated four of zaha hadid’s drawings into virtual reality, as part of the exhibition there should be no end to experimentation.

 

 

project info

 

artists: laurie anderson / hsin-chien huang

title: to the moon

supported by: HTC VIVE arts

date: 2018 – 2019

event: manchester international festival

address: the studio, royal exchange theatre, st ann’s square, manchester m2 7dh

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