“All You Have To Do Is Ask” is a virtual reality environment, built using the game engine Unity, and was created during my research at the University of South Australia. It was exhibited in my Master’s examination exhibition, Monsters, Meat and Meta: an artist’s guide to making a friend of the horror genre.
I initially engaged with virtual reality to offer viewers another way to experience my 3D models before realising the potential for such technology to create fictional worlds and environments. The resulting work consists of an environment comprised of images and photogrammetric scans of my body, scaled to enormous sizes, that the viewer can navigate using virtual reality equipment. Created using the game engine Unity, it is what gamers might consider a “walking simulator”, that is, an environment one can explore without the overarching narrative or goal that characterises most video games. This is an important distinction, as the technology was approached not in the pursuit of realism or engaging gameplay – the metrics by which one might normally measure a game – but from a position of how the technology can be used in the service of the conceptual concerns arising from the research. All You Have To Do Is Ask was created as exploration of the tensions between voyeurism and agency; the faces on its walls watch the person who traverses the bodies below, gargantuan faces loom out of the darkness, the gaze emphasized by the torch illuminating where it is directed. It is an experience mediated by the agency of the viewer, both as they traverse the terrain and when they placed the virtual reality headset on their head, but ultimately ruled by my decision to allow them this opportunity to interact with virtual facsimiles of my body. It is an experience that occurs in the gallery; the viewer might be alone in the virtual environment, free to do as they will, but in the gallery, there is always the potential that they become the object being watched.