THE ARRIVAL, 2016. EXCERPT RUNTIME 01:10, ORIGINAL VERSION 10:50. THREE CHANNEL VIDEO, COLOR, SOUND 12K HD.
“Our brain really doesn’t know the difference between reality and a virtual reality in a lot of cases, If I expose you to a spider in a virtual setting, your limbic system will light up just as if you see a spider in real life.”
The Arrival, 2016, makes visible our eyes within a virtual environment, juxtaposed with the simultaneous exterior view of the participant experiencing the virtual. For the virtual content, I used the early first generation Oculus Rift roller coaster simulation “Riftcoaster”. This is meant to bring to conversation the mythology of the Lumirere brothers film L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat (translated from French as The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station), and the eye itself as an organic mechanism serving the percipient. The mythology of this film is that the audience, new to the experience [the illusion] of cinema, was so terrified by the potential for harm that many ran from their seats to the back of the theater to avoid the oncoming train. It’s contested whether this happened or not, but it serves the conversation of human perception evolving and adapting to media’s inherent illusoriness (we no longer run to the back of theaters). Most of this conversation focuses on the question, will we catch up to virtual reality, no longer having the thrill or susceptibility to it’s illusory qualities? Or will it continue, as perhaps the sense of “presence” continues to grow with the hurried sophistication of the simulated environments?
I thought it was of value to create a cautionary tone to the work by employing the aesthetic science fiction, cyberpunk, and techno dystopia. By exposing the mechanics of the eye, I wanted to point out an original illusion that we experience in each moment, well before VR. The human field of view is about 180 degrees forward facing. But of this 180 degrees the eye sees roughly three percent at a given moment. The brain and the eye work together, sampling and stitching together a map, composed of three degree samples, to create the illusion of a complete 180 degree field of view. In the recordings of the user’s eyes in The Arrival, we can observe this primary illusion manifesting with the rapidly moving micro adjustments of the eye.
Installation still, New Wight Gallery, University of California at Los Angeles, CA.