In 2020 we will develop the first of our VR projects under the banner of The Quiet Discomfort. This will be a series of VR works addressing major social issues produced over the next three years. The first artwork will be created by April Phillips. April is a Wiradjuri-Scottish illustrator, visual arts educator, and researcher based on the south coast of NSW – Yuin country. April is currently experimenting with new modes of visual storytelling and character design within the VR space.
April’s project, with the working title Body Place, plays with body politics and gender neutrality, in a light hearted projection of vivid colour and bold form.
This immersive work will envelop the wearer with empathy, an embodied mind shifting sensation within a safe virtual space. Treating the body as a site is the guiding principle of the work, to examine and test the limits of our biological perceptions.
“I am currently experimenting with interactive modes of VR visual storytelling and character design within VR spaces, teaming up with Australian technicians I admire to break new grounds in this space. My concept is to create a series of body forms for the audience to observe, select and then ‘step into’. The aim is that the wearable self is translated to a first person experience – one the wearer carries with them beyond the bounds of virtual grounds. I feel there is a direct link to Koori ways of knowing, being and doing where we embody or link into these concepts, a kind of living in a spirit space opposed to a linear mind with separated body vessel. Everything is connected and carried: country, family lines, even trauma. I hope this work will speak to audiences universally, while I acknowledge some elements will be deeply personal” – April Phillips