Wagner James Au, official blogger for Second Life, included biosignal-controlled VR project Project H.E.A.R.T. in his 2018 roundup of most exciting innovations in AR, VR and AI! Project H.E.A.R.T.’s innovate incorporation of emotion into gameplay was included among such exciting innovations such as MICA, Magic Leap’s Eerily Human AI Avatar Who Looks You In The Eye, an AI basketball player that “learns” how to dribble a ball, and technology that allows for shadows and reflections of real objects to appear in AR spaces.
At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut curators Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergara have selected VR works for this year’s Toronto Digifest, including two recent pieces by Berlin-based Canadian artist Li Alin and Montreal-based artist Erin Gee in collaboration with South Korean-born, US-based artist Alex M. Lee. The artists use humor and irony to engage in controversial topics: emotions in first-person shooter video games and war in the case of Gee, and a futuristic exploration on human reproduction in technology-oriented times in the case of Alin.
April 26 -28, 2018
25 Dockside Dr
ON M5A 1B6 Toronto
The audience itself explores Gee’s H.E.A.R.T., a virtual work where you have to control your emotions to control the leading character in a war-related VR game, as well as Alin’s Enter Me Tonight, a VR environment engaged with issues on human reproduction, economy, biology, pornography and technology.
In a contextualizing event, the curators will speak about the history of VR and current trends and critical perspectives on this technology.
Berlin-based Tina Sauerländer works as an independent curator and writer. With her exhibition hub peer to space she has been organizing and curating international group exhibitions in various institutions throughout Europe. She currently deals with the artistic self-staging in digital art as a PhD candidate at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria.
Erandy Vergara curates and writes about contemporary and media art. Her main research interests include feminism, global art histories, curatorial studies, postcolonialism and critical race studies. She earned a MA at Concordia University and a PhD in Art History at McGill University.
Toronto’s Digifest is a tech festival and startup event, organized annually by the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator at George Brown College, bringing together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, designers, students and creatives engaged in the interactive, gaming and design industries.
// lonely avatar is an exhibition which investigates the use, meaning, and expressive potential of avatars in the contemporary digital landscape. “Lucid Dreaming” ruminates on the emptiness of the virtual avatar whilst “Project H.E.A.R.T.” involves filling that empty avatar with your emotion through a specially designed biosensor. Both projects follow a trajectory of thought in regards to the metaphorical potential of avatars in the virtual space. Curated by Frank Yefeng Wang, this show features works by Alex M Lee commissioned by Trinity Square Video in Toronto, ON and a project made in collaboration with Canadian artist Erin Gee.
Opening reception: 5-8pm
Artist Lecture: 7-7:30pm
The Chazan Family Gallery
Alex & Ani Hall
Rhode Island College
600 Mt. Pleasant Ave
Providence, RI 02908
Wagner James Au, consultant and author of “The Making of Second Life” (
Project H.E.A.R.T was featured in the Winter 2018 edition of Canadian Art magazine. The exhibition review for the Worldbuilding exhibition curated by John G Hampton and Maiko Tanaka at Trinity Square Video was written by Tatum Dooley. According to Dooley:
“The gamification of our bodies renders the physical form void, replaced by screens where our bodies and emotions can be morphed and manipulated. Perhaps the only way to create art with technology as advanced and recent as VR is to reckon with its potential consequences.
Gee’s project, the most realized out of the four artists in the exhibition, masters this reckoning. I spoke with Gee in the lead-up to the exhibition, and she explained the conceptual backbone of the piece. “I’m working through questions of emotional sincerity when it comes to self-help. In theory, if you can technologically master your emotions, if you can just make yourself excited, then you can make yourself a better, happier person. I don’t know how sincere that is…”
Click here for the full article: VR and the Failure of Self-Help Technology
Project H.E.A.R.T. was debuted on November 5th at Trinity Square Video, Toronto.
This project was commissioned by Trinity Square Video thanks to curators John Hampton and Maiko Tanaka, as well as the support of AMD computing and the Canada Council for the Arts. The commission also features works by Canadian artists Jeremy Bailey and Kristen Schaffer, Eshrat Erfanian, and Yam Lau.
The Worldbuilding exhibition took place November 3rd – December 9th 2017 at Trinity Square Video, 401 Richmond, Toronto Canada. From the curators:
“As new virtual technologies begin to flood the popular consciousness via gaming, experience design, journalism, and healthcare industries, they are accompanied by claims that immersive, 360° and 3D environments create more authentic experiences of “presence”. On the one hand they claim the technology can cultivate real empathy for the experiences of others, and on the other, they enhance the resolution of militaristic ways of seeing and “voyeurism without consequence.” The artists in Worldbuilding bring a critical eye to this rhetoric emerging alongside the technology. Through the building of alternate versions of the worlds in which popular VR experiences currently exist, the artists exaggerate, undermine, and push the limits, of the claims of VR’s empathetic and experiential potential, in subtle, hilarious and re-embodying ways.
Curated by John G. Hampton and Maiko Tanaka, Worldbuilding invites audiences to experience four virtual installations in an exhibition that plays with the rules of engagement that immersive technologies are designed from. Opening with a reception on November 3rd 2017 at 6pm, the exhibition provides opportunities to hear from the artists and curators themselves with panel presentations on November 4th and December 9th.”
Project H.E.A.R.T. is an installation work that features a futuristic play station including a desk surface, chair, and biosensor interface.
|YEAR OF PRODUCTION|
|AVERAGE VIEWING TIME|
|4k VR experience for Oculus Rift, LED-enhanced desk and seating, USB-powered biosensor interface|
|Oculus Rift CV-1 with IR tracker, large display monitor (at least 50″), Windows 10 VR-capable computer, access to power|
|Recommended CPU: Intel Core i7 chipset GPU: AMD RX 480, GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, or Nvidia 1060 graphics card RAM: 8GB|
The biosensor interface is installed by plugging in the USB to the computer. No further calibration or setup action is required.