philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Why First Virtual Reality Art Prize Is Perfect For 2020

Earlier this fall, Christie’s marked a cultural milestone by auctioning its first augmented reality piece. The Life by Marina Abramovic sold for over $380,000triggering an ancient controversy: the price one pays for conjuring something out of nothing. It is fitting that 2020 closes with the launch of Virtual Reality Art Prize! Presented by Deutsche Kreditbank in cooperation with Contemporary Arts Alliance Berlin, it extends the official welcome for a new medium to the contemporary arts scene. Five finalists received funding to develop new works and showcase at the “Resonant Realities” exhibition at Haus am Lützowplatz in the spring of 2021.

In The ND-Serial artist Armin Keplinger investigates the liminality between analogue and digital spaces as well as “differentiations of extreme temporal levels”. Aporia by Patricia Detmering explores the conflict between the ideas of an open and closed society as informed by artificial intelligence and the artist’s experience growing up in East Germany. Artistic duo Banz & Bowinkel see a computer as an everyday medium and their Poly Mesh calls into question the seeming senselessness of avatar-driven interactions. Artificial Tears by Evelyn Bencicova deals with the culturally persistent stereotype of men as creators and women as machines unable to function as decision-makers. Meanwhile, Lauren Moffatt engages in a kind of speculative digital fiction in Image Technology Echoesinviting her audience into the head of two viewers perceiving the same painting differently. 

As long as potential buyers do not understand why they should spend $350 on the new Oculus Quest 2, whereas it seems natural to acquire the latest iPhone for over a thousand dollars, many branches of the VR industry, including the arts, will hardly reach sustainability.

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