WonderForest: ADAF_FutuRetro(2022)

Jia-Rey Chang (Developer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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WonderForest: VR Immersive Interactive Art Installation

“WonderForest” is an immersive VR interactive piece asking the question of “what is real?”. If life is composed of a pile of sensory experiences, should VR be included in this game of life? And can “VR” experiences expand and break the stereotypical idea of “real” and “nature”? This conceptual exploration was inspired by French Philosopher, Gilles Deleuze’s statement that “the virtual is opposed to actual but not real" in his publication “Bergsonism”. Hence, the virtual experience should also deliver real senses and even an extended version of reality. “WonderForest” here also implies a utopia-kind of mental escape from reality which is an urgent need after the COVID-19 relentlessly interfering everyone’s life.

In “WonderForest”, it provides an immersive digitalized visual/audio environment as a new Nature. Just like walking in a forest, the audiences can sense the nature atmosphere but with totally different environmental elements. By creating meshes of waves as landscape, free-floating cubes and flying dots as living species, noise mixing with birds singing as ambient sounds, the project challenges the general stereotypical notion of Nature. It is also to convince the audiences' that what they've experienced in the VR environment should be considered as “real”. For example, who can be certain about the space multiple lightyears away would be the same physical materialization as we have here and not like in the “WonderForest”? Besides, no matter if it is virtual or real, they will all imprint in our body/mind as real senses and memories once you experienced them, just like seeing movies or playing video games or even dreaming. And that is what “WonderForest” attempts to deliver.

Speaking about the actual play in “WonderForest”, the audiences can hit the floating cubes, attract the swarm of dots, producing colorful rain, making flashy lights, which are not possible in the so-called “real” world. And that is what makes the VR experience fun, interesting, and can be possibly become the extension/escape of reality.

WonderForest” as a VR interactive immersive installation was showcased in the “VR” section of “The Athens Digital Arts Festival (ADAF)”. The ADAF presents FutuRetro, a celebratory 18th edition and a five-day (25th-29th May) gathering in the heart of Athens at the historical landmark of Kotzia Square. The theme, FutuRetro, focuses on science fiction, retrofuturism and futurology and aims to present the technological milestones of today through the eyes of the past and as a foreshadowing means for the future. Marking its third year as a Hybrid Festival, the online edition of the festival, ADAF ONLINE, will be launched in the fall of 2022 as an extension to the physical edition and in an effort to make the festival and its works accessible to a truly limitless, global audience. ADAF’s international open call has yet again received an overwhelming number of submissions, 5,700 works from artists, scientists, intellectuals, and technologists from around the world. Parallel to the open call, the Festival continues to expand its network by cultivating bridges with local and international festivals, universities and institutions to exchange knowledge, art and to showcase global trends in digital arts.

Exhibited at 18th ADAF (Athens Digital Arts Festival), 25-29 May 2022
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event18th ADAF (Athens Digital Art Festival): FutuRetro - Athens, Greece
Duration: 25 May 202229 May 2022
Conference number: 18


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