Lift-off at Art Basel
- Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang’s ‘To The Moon’ gave participants a chance to moonwalk and reflect
- 'The idea is to allow users to fly around the surface of the moon and get lost in its mountainous terrain,' said a VIVE Arts representative
Have you ever wanted to enter Vincent van Gogh’s TheStarry Night? At Art Basel in Hong Kong earlier this year (29-31 March), the American avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson allowed visitors to do something that came close—enter an artwork set on the moon; an immersive lunar walk experience if you will.
Anderson was incidentally the first and only artist-in-residence at US space agency Nasa and is particularly interested in themes of space exploration. To The Moon (2018) is a 15-minute experience she developed with the Taiwanese artist Hsin-Chien Huang—who once worked as a game developer for Sega and Sony. It was presented at the art fair for the first time in Asia by VIVE Arts, the global VR programme of the consumer electronics company HTC.
Participants were given headsets and hand-held controls that allowed them to fly through skeletons of dinosaurs, jump over craters, poke at trash piles and generally hop about. Parts of the experience clearly illustrate a lunar dystopia: the moon as a dumping ground for nuclear waste and plastic. At some point, you tumble into deep space, but not without a dramatic spectacle of stars exploding.
“The idea is to allow users to fly around the surface of the moon and get lost in its mountainous terrain," said a VIVE Arts representative at Art Basel. In her introduction, Anderson says the work is not meant to merely dwell on the wondrous elements of moon exploration but to “directly confront humanity’s impact on the environment".
FIRST PUBLISHED20.07.2019 | 08:30 AM IST
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