Memory Theater VR
Agnes Hegedüs

"Conceived as a 'memory theater' of pioneering virtual-reality technologies, conjoined to current artistic VR practice, and contextualized by a cultural history of relevant precedents, a didactic intention is amalgamated into careful aesthetic construction."

Agnes Hegedüs "My Autobiographical Media History - Metaphors of Interaction, Communication and Body Using Electronic Media." In Women, Art and Technology, edited by Judy Malloy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003, 267.

Memory Theater VR serves as a virtual museum that incorporates unique architectural, interface, and visualization strategies to blend the experience of real and virtual elements. The installation is located in a cylindrical space made of wooden panels reminiscent of a theater set. The user interface, a three-dimensional spatial tracking device, can be moved within a transparent Plexiglas replica of the cylindrical enclosure. Images are projected onto a large curved screen embedded in the circular wall opposite the interface. By manipulating the interface device, viewers can select and enter four distinct virtual spaces represented as points on a clock-like compass. North, East, South and West denote the four different virtual spaces. In each of these represented spaces, there is a specific scenography of images and objects arranged within this common architectural environment. Simultaneously, the projection surface in the virtual space becomes a surface for showing audiovisual clips. Memory Theater VR presents a personally envisioned cultural and technological history of virtual reality, featuring diverse references from art, science, theater, literature, cinema, and architecture. It explores historical techniques like trompe l'oeil and anamorphosis, which are precursors to modern virtual reality. The concept of memory theatre is used as a framing instance in order to create a recomposed space that is both a virtual museum and a cabinet of curiosities of heterogeneous images and artefacts, comprising a rich collection of works arranged in certain contextual groups.

Laura Vogelhöfer