In something completely different to our usual content, ComputerWorld's Barry and Megan were invited to the opening of a virtual reality art exhibition taking place at the birth place for photography, the National Trusts Lacock Abbey.
The Thresholds exhibit was created by British artist Mat Collishaw who has exhibited across the world including locations such as the Tate London and the Paris Museum on contemporary art.
The exhibition is an immersive virtual reality experience that transfers you back to the first major photography exhibition by British Scientist, Henry Fox-Talbot that took place in Birmingham in 1839. Henry Fox-Talbot lived in Lacock Abbey and it is now cared for by the National Trust.
The exhibition took place back in 1839 which happened alongside a demonstration of Chartist protesters who rioted on the streets of Birmingham, against industrialisation and the effect it was having upon jobs. The sound and images of this riot feature outside the windows of the virtual room where the exhibition is taking place. The timing of this exhibition is also very apt as the digital revolution today also risks changing the way we work with technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics risking effecting jobs in the near future.
The technology makes use of the latest technologies such as the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset, Leap Motion Sensors and computing power from MSI alongside CGI recreations of the exhibition space.
Maybe most incredibly if you look past the technology itself, is the recreation of the exhibits from 1839. Due to the process used to create the original photos from negative in 1839 not fixing the image to protect it against light, a large majority of the images have had to be recreated from scratch for the exhibition due to the originals fading.
We highly recommend you visit Lacock Abbey to experience the exhibit for yourself, the mix of VR technology along with the art and the freedom to move around the exhibit delivers a never been experienced before experience. Without a doubt this is a small glimpse of the things to come and the possibilities of virtual and augmented reality.