Khora Contemporary presented inaugural Virtual Reality artworks by Tony Oursler and Erik Parker at CIGE Art Fair, Beijing in 2016, marking the introduction of VR art to the wide audience in Asia.
Erik Parker is known for his colourful palette and twisted motifs, that draw inspiration from a variety of elements; from American subculture, comic books and hip hop to a heavy art-historical tradition of
among others Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Roy Lichtenstein. His acrylic paintings consist of chaos and fragmentation perfectly balanced in a jumble of colour.
'Switchstance Bay' unfolds Parker’s tropical universe from 2014; Foreign Resistance, previously only seen on a two-dimensional surface. When entering the Virtual Reality the participants find themselves at first sight in a lush surrounding with popping and unnatural colours - an artificial paradise created by Parker’s imagination.
However, the scene quickly turns into a dystopia while realizing that what one sees might be the
prospects and consequences of climate changes and environmental problems. The purple water, the
psychedelic colour of the trees, their leaves and the flowers and the unreal shadows make you wonder if this is a sight of a strange utopia or a dystopia. The old school dub and slash key music, that changes every time you pass through the doorway of the cave to arrive at the shore, underlines the uncanny of the atmosphere. Regardless of how you feel about the setting though, it is undoubtedly a fascinating pioneering virtual reality.
The work by Tony Oursler is an exploration of a person’s mind and story. The viewer is invited to follow George Adamski, a ‘contactee’, claiming himself to be the first person ever to have seen and talked to aliens and even visited other planets.
Tony Oursler has always been investigating and using contemporary technology both in his art and as a source of inspiration. The Virtual Reality artwork therefore lies as a natural extension to his pratice. 'space men r My friended', arises from the path Oursler took with Imponderable and the Imponderable Archive shown at MoMA and Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, NY and explores the interlinking characters involved with the origins of Unidentified Flying Object photography.
The main character in the Virtual Reality Artwork, 'space men r My friended', is a first generation Polish immigrant and one of the leading UFO figures, who arguably is the first UFO photographer. In the 1930s George Adamski made small fortune by winemaking during Prohibition with a government license. At the end of the prohibition Adamski lost his profitable earnings and with his wife Mary Shimbersky and some close friends, he moved to a ranch near California's Palomar Mountain, where they dedicated their time to studying religion, philosophy, and farming. It was in this area that Adamski first saw a large cigar-shaped ‘mothership’in 1946. In 1947 Adamski managed to take a photograph of the ship, and in 1950 - after seeing several UFOs over the years - he took a photograph of what he alleged to be six UFOs in the sky. Two years after Adamski and his friends observed another submarine-shaped object in the sky in the Colorado Desert, from which a scout ship disembarked, and Adamski was contacted by the Venusian pilot called Orthon. After his first encounter with UFOs Adamski began to give lectures about his experiences and paranormal activities.
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