Marina Abramović and Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London
Marina Abramović and Anish Kapoor have embraced virtual reality. In Abramović’s VR debut, Rising, the artist is present—and in peril, while the elevator pitch for Kapoor’s In Yourself – Fall could be Hitchcock’s Vertigo meets Fantastic Voyage. The performance artist and sculptor shared their experience making the works and thoughts on the medium’s artistic potential in a lively conversation on Tuesday, March 6, at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London.
The Royal Academicians’ first VR works were shown at the RA ahead of their official premiere at Art Basel in Hong Kong later this month. Abramović’s Rising, which is a “work in progress” she stressed, takes the viewer to a stormy polar landscape and face-to-face with the artist’s avatar in a glass vitrine, Houdini-like. You decide if the water in the vitrine rises above her avatar’s head. Pledge to take care of the planet and the water level falls. Do nothing and her avatar drowns.
Kapoor’s VR work, In Yourself – Fall simulates a vertiginous—and at times gory—descent into the human body. He wanted the experience to be more “visceral” than was currently possible.“The technology is good but it isn’t good at subtleties,” he said, adding that it still has a cartoonish quality that lacks realism. Asked if he would continue working in the medium, Kapoor responded with a “cagey yes.”