Disembodied

Exhibition Opening 4th September 5:30pm
Belconnen Community Gallery

“disEMBODIED” is an innovative and highly imaginative exhibition. It is composed of a collection of oil paintings combined with an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experience.

Together, these elements explore the tension and shifting nature of what it means to be embodied and also disconnected from one’s self within a post-truth world and contemporary Australian society. These oil portraits utilise a vivid array of colours, with sweeping brush strokes that capture the complex internal worlds of diverse individuals. I explore and interrogate the notion of how each of us create and live within a unique “private country”. By this I mean, the imaginative, private and immersive worlds we sometimes internally inhabit. 

Therefore, I ask the audience to immerse themselves in a series of paintings and within an interactive technological experience. Contrasting a traditional artistic medium with a contemporary one, I pose provocative questions about the nature of presence and embodiment. For instance, what does it mean to be immersed in an artwork? Is Virtual Reality a threat to traditional artistic mediums? What truly represents reality and human experience? And lastly, can these two mediums coexist in way that both depicts reality and immerses us inside of it?

In the middle of the gallery space at the opening a VR headset will be available for the public to interact with, allowing them to interact and view a series of portraits I painting in VR. VR experiences are known for their ability to generate a strong and potent sense of presence and place illusion (PI). Individuals will therefore be able to be surrounded by and engrossed within this digital artwork. Overall, through this experience this exhibition aims to challenge the simplistic notion that technology is alienating us from each other, our creativity and our bodies.    

Thus, “disEMBODIED” is a uniquely innovative exhibition in two key ways. Firstly, it combines two contrasting traditional and modern mediums. This is rarely done as these mediums are conventionally exhibited separately. Secondly, this exhibition moves beyond the assumption that these mediums cannot coexist and in essence threaten one another. Thus, “disEMBODIED” illustrates how these mediums can cross-pollinate each other, enriching and deepening individual’s engagement with contemporary art. Consequently, this exhibition plays an important role in reimagining the relationship between emerging digital technologies, traditional artistic mediums and what it means to be immersed in and artwork.