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Friday, 12 July 2019 10:58

TERMINUS Exhibition (TGA Art Gallery) - 20 July to 27 October 2019

When: 20 July - 27 October 2019

Where: Tauranga Art Gallery

Presented by: Tauranga Art Gallery

Jess Johnson & Simon Ward

With their pioneering use of virtual reality, artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, have created a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols, traversed via a network of travellators and gateways.

Johnson’s drawings are transformed from analogue into digital, animated by Ward and enriched with input from developer Kenny Smith and sound composer Andrew Clarke to create a virtual realty quest; a choose-your-own adventure into the technological.

Prepare yourself for a slippage of time and space as your journey propels you across five distinct realms: you will pass through Fleshold Crossing; take respite in Known Unknown; lose yourself within Scumm Engine; bravely face impending danger in the tower of Gog & Magog; and experience the brink of sensory overload in the psychedelic Tumblewych. The mysteries of what you ultimately seek will be revealed: an understanding that reality is not fixed but rather both malleable and multiple.

Tauranga Art Gallery will be the first New Zealand venue to present this major virtual reality exhibition!

Terminus was commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia and the Balnaves Foundation and premiered at the NGA in May 2018.

Terminus is being adapted specifically for Tauranga Art Gallery with the addition of original artwork and large-scale quilts, a collaboration between Jess Johnson and her mother Cynthia Johnson. The centrepiece of the work is five virtual reality artworks housed within bespoke structures situated on a tessellated floor map.

The structures of Terminus are custom-built VR stations. Each station operates as a portal, allowing audiences to experience the realm in virtual reality. The Terminus virtual reality experiences draw their imagery from the world that Jess Johnson has developed in her drawing practice over several years. Video artist Simon Ward translates these drawings into 3D animations and virtual environments using the game engine Unity.

“In the hands of artists, VR technology has the potential to explode into new genres and art forms. As an artist working in VR, I’m really excited by the psychological implications of being able to position an audience directly within my artwork.

I think VR is the most effective conduit from one brain to another that’s ever existed. With VR we are able to transport someone into an entirely new reality of our creation.

It’s relatively easy to seduce someone into accepting a virtual environment as ‘real.’ The experience of VR can be really disorientating, which also allows us to push against people’s accustomed perceptions and comfort levels. By transporting people to strange new realms we can also provoke new emotional and psychological experiences in our audiences. It will be artists who harness the technology and use it in ways we can’t even imagine yet, opening up new modes of storytelling, communication, expression, and exploration.” Jess Johnson

Find out more

Additional Info

  • Event Date: 20 July - 27 October