'VR project title: The scent of a flower we have not found
I enrolled in this course because I am especially interested in the idea of the video essay as a means to manipulate already existing video material (primarily found on the digital archives of Youtube) to identify visual similarities, create a new statement, impression or course of events.
The task to translate screen-based, flat, 2D image and video material into an immersive VR environment in a way that feels appropriate, relevant and warrants putting on the VR glasses is challenging.
For the video-essay approach to VR, I considered topics that would full-fill following criteria: Be researchable; Room for subjective view / personal opinion / personal comment; Opportunities for diverse visualisation through different media ( video, still image, audio, interview, 3D models ); Opportunity for audio immersion
Resulting from a conversation with a friend who works in psychotherapy I settled on the topic of ‚Ketamin therapy‘, a potentially controversial topic, which is currently gaining acceptance as a new way to treat treatment resistant depression. Ketamin has been abused and consequently stigmatised as a recreational party drug. I find the friction between societal condemnation of drug-use, lacking understanding of depression and mental health issues and personal authority concerning drug-use, interesting and something I wanted to research and deal with through video inside a VR experience.
The title ‚THE SCENT OF A FLOWER WE HAVE NOT FOUND‘ comes from a book titled ‚signs of life‘ and is a sensually metaphorical description of desire. The mental image and synaesthesia of scent this sentence conjures up inspired the red-thread of flowers -as memory fragments- that shows up throughout the experienceOverall I see my role for this project as a digital curator who‘s task it is to find visual and audio material, as well as thematic connections and storytelling methods to translate selected artworks into new forms for an immersive VR environment. (Re-inventing them in a new subjective context, while keeping their integrity.)
Overall the VR experience is my subjective interpretation of a Ketamin induced therapeutic trip, an immersive essay on the mental state someone might experience when absolving such an experimental drug trial.
What is immersive space?
An immersive VR experience has the opportunity to go beyond the purely digital by also including further senses. My intention for an exhibition scenario of this VR experience, would be to create a space that includes a chair with a blanket similar to the chair the visitor will be on in the digital experience. (Preferably inside a clinical space enclosed by curtains (Inspiration: https://tankmagazine.com/tank/2018/03/stine-exhibition/)). I would also control the smell in the room through a soothing scent, both to draw a link to the project title and provoke a more immersive experience. During my research I discovered that a Ketamin-infusion therapy shows some remarkable similarities to a VR set-up that could be emphasised in such an instillation. Namely, patients are seated in a chair, given an eye-mask as well as headphones with soothing music and a blanket. It can be said that the Ketamin-infusion therapy is in itself an immersive experience, as patients receive their infusion and are left to experience an altered world of perception without ever leaving the room.