kander – LookingOutwards05

I was drawn to Martha Hipley’s work after viewing her project “Ur Cardboard Pet” in the VR Salon, which I found to be a tongue-in-cheek role-reversal of men’s attitudes towards women (I think her description said that it commented on the male gaze, but I don’t remember exactly).

Anyway, for this assignment, I looked at “Wobble Wonder” which is an immersive VR segway experience that Hipley collaborated upon with 3 other artists and engineers. The user stands on a platform, and they can tilt their body forward and backwards to move (like a segway). There are fans mounted to the users head, so if the user is moving “fast enough”, the fans will simulate air resistance. The project employs an Occulus headset through which the user can experience the world, which was largely modeled by Hipley. The world has a similar expressive feeling and color scheme to Hipley’s other work — she often uses paint in combination with code (for example, the images in “Ur Cardboard Pet” were hand painted).

I like this project because it has appreciation for what VR can actually do. The project is about VR, rather than simply using VR as a media to display something that could have been displayed on a flat screen. “Wobble Wonder” is a project that allows VR to shape the conceptualization of the project. Furthermore, it goes beyond simply constraining the users world to the visual, with the use of fans and movement. 

An onscreen rendering of what the user of “Wobble Wonder” would experience.

I couldn’t embed a video, but this page has a video of about the project.