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An Empty Portland Gallery Becomes an Immersive VR Art Show

In collaboration with dotdot-dash studio, artist Damien Gilley makes the inside of the Hap Gallery much more like 'Tron' than another white cube.

In culmination of a monthlong residency at the creative technology and production studio dotdotdash, artist Damien Gilley is turning the Hap Gallery in Portland into a fully immersive virtual reality art exhibition. Known for his multidimensional site-specific installations, Gilley wields the power of HTC's cutting edge Vive VR technology to turn an empty gallery space into a fully interactive virtual art show experience. The Specular exhibition is comprised of a series of 3D drawings and sculptures that the artist created using a custom handheld VR modeling tool designed by the dotdotdash studio. The VR drawing tool functions a lot like the Tilt Brush in that it allowed Gilley to move and modify different digital objects inside this virtual space. In a short documentary about the project, viewable below, Gilley says that most of his work revolves around, “investigating perception of space in some way.”

The artworks in Specular are triggered in response to viewers' perspectives and movements within the space. The Hap Gallery writes, “The structural drawings lead and suggest like maps or architectural sketches might, yet read more like a game or puzzle to be solved.” Walking through the space, viewers will discover structures and spatial relationships that were once hidden. Michael Hill, one of the interactive engineers at dotdotdash, points out that with a VR headset, an artist or curator can place the viewer in a space much bigger than the one they’re actually in. The result is an explosion of the concept of the art show, and Gilley and the dotdotdash studio hope to explore it further with their new experience.   

New Forms Residency | Damien Gilley — ‘Specular’ Virtual Reality Art Exhibit from dotdotdash on Vimeo

The Specular exhibition is on now at the Hap Gallery in Portland, Oregon, through July 9th. For more from the artist, head over to his website, and click here for more from dotdotdash. 

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