Adding up the hours we spend staring into screens, it could be argued that we are seeing an ever-greater part of our lives mediated through them. Virtual Reality has quietly emerged and embedded itself into our psyches. The collective imagination is to an ever-greater extent being co-opted and aligning itself to the operational workings of this new prosthetic. It is now a critical time for artists to temper this overwhelming involvement and offer insights into this reality, complete with new paradigms of perception, new ways of seeing into, and through, the ubiquitous screen.
Strata-Caster is an installation that explores the topography of power, prestige, and position. It exists in the virtual world of Second Life, a place populated by approximately 50,000 people at any given moment. Although virtual and infinite, it continues to mirror the physical world, complete with representations of prestige and exclusivity. Even without the limitations of the physical, why are borders and separation still prized so highly? Entry into this installation is by wheelchair, an unfamiliar interface to the limitless expanse of virtual space, but one that continuously calls attention to limitation and position.
About the Artist
Joseph Farbrook grew up in New York City and Santa Fe, raised by his father, a concrete poet, and his mother, a painter. He recieved his MFA at the University of Colorado and creates electronic installations, interactive video and virtual reality narratives. His latest work explores the intersections between video, video games and sculpture.
Farbrooks work has been shown at SIGGRAPH2010, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver), La Fabrica Arte Contemporaneo (Guatemala), Museo De Arte Contemporaneo (Columbia), as well as venues in the Netherlands, China, Czech Republic, and the USA. He is presently an assistant professor of interactive media and game development at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Image courtesy the artist.