Preview of Virtual Reality’s “Presence” by Zenka, Opening at District Gallery Saturday!

Posted by on Mar 5, 2015

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Presence: A Humorous Collection of Virtual Reality Goggles in Clay 1965-2015: opens this Saturday, March 7th at District Gallery in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District from 7-10pm. The show is open though April 26th.

Cartwheel Art Tours, based in the Art District, was provided a preview yesterday for a private group tour with Talenthouse. The show along with meeting Zenka (her son in tow) was a highlight for all of us yesterday!

Saturday’s opening is definitely one of the highest recommendations Cartwheel Art is making, not for the weekend but for the year! She has been a speaker for us on previous tours but to see all of the masks displayed here is much different then other installation pieces she has been creating and placing in the district and internationally for years! Hope to see you all saturday!

Here is more about the show and Zenka: The history of the future (at least the digital future) is the subject of the new show at District Gallery. More than 20 life-sized ceramic raku masks by the artist Zenka depicting augmented reality and virtual reality headsets from the 1960’s to the present will be on display. The opening will also feature DIY virtual reality gear and an Oculus Rift VR headset for visitors who want to explore alternate dimensions.

Zenka’s headset sculptures range from three early NASA VR contraptions all the way up to the recently presented Microsoft HoloLens and the recently retired Google Glass. Most of the goggles are mere prototypes including Meta’s Space Glasses and Xcope. Visitors can see many of the early incarnations of Oculus Rift as the headset design has progressed from a crowd funded Kickstarter campaign to a $2 billion company.

The show will in addition have a sculpture of a woman wearing a pair of cat eye, blue and red 3D paper movie glasses carefully carved in clay with colored glass inserts.

Visitors will also see a sculptural representation of Google Cardboard VR – sculpted in clay and lit from the inside. Curious about what’s inside? Google cardboard goggles will be on hand at the gallery throughout the show for anyone who wants to ride a virtual roller coaster or step into the streets of Hong Kong.

The early VR and AR prototypes are often large and cumbersome and Zenka’s work captures the humor and nostalgia for these clumsy high tech beginnings. The work inspires meditations on how nothing seems more peculiarly dated than past visions of obsolete futures.

The sculptures capture people in the height of their emotional engagement – whether that be bliss or horror, wonderment or shock.

“The show’s title, Presence, not only speaks to the fact that the subjects depicted are ironically sealed in their own worlds – it it is actually a virtual reality buzz-word used to describe the strange tipping point when a person’s brain and body miraculously click over to a point where VR becomes “physically” real to them.” says Zenka.

When a headset achieves presence, she explains, “There is no way your body would let you jump off a bridge in this state, even though it is fictional.” The experience is only available on very high end HMD (head mounted displays) when 9 technical specs are present (such as field of view, refresh rate, latency, resolution etc. are present). Virtual reality “immersion” is the next best thing.

Zenka is one of our Cartwheel Art Tours, featured speakers, who often engages tour guests after demonstrating how to create wheat pastes, assists guests in how to put the art up in the streets of our neighborhood. Yesterday, we were provided a sneak peek of her show with a Cartwheel Art Tours group for Talenthouse, where she described her work and provided the opportunity for us to explore with the provided googles. Below are photos from yesterday’s preview after a few images provided by Zenka before the installation.

 

 

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 Photo provided by Zenka.

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Photo taken by Lisa Napoli of KCRW and provided by Zenka.

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 Photo provided by Zenka.

IMG_0047Photo By Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

IMG_0049Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

IMG_0052Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

IMG_0053Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

IMG_0057Zenka showing Talenthouse with Cartwheel Art Tours her augmented work.  Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

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 Zenka showing Talenthouse with Cartwheel Art Tours her augmented work. Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

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 Zenka showing Talenthouse with Cartwheel Art Tours her augmented work. Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

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 Zenka showing Talenthouse with Cartwheel Art Tours her augmented work. Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

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 Zenka showing Talenthouse with Cartwheel Art Tours her augmented work. Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

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 Photo by Cindy Schwarzstein with Cartwheel Art Tours.

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