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Skinscape (Steam VR)

Skinscape (Steam VR)

Skinscape (Steam VR)

System: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift & Windows MR
Price at Time Of Review: Free
Comfort Rating: Green
Genre: Interactive Experience
Input: Tracked Motion Controllers
Best Playing Position: Sitting
Multi-Player: No
Age Rating: UPG
VR Shop Score 1/100: 70

Description: Ian Truelove is a UK based artist who uses digital technologies to explore new ways to make paintings. In this VR artwork, Truelove tests out what happens when one of his paintings is scaled up to an area that spans several square kilometres. Although the land-like forms in this artwork are very similar to digital landscapes generated by algorithms, each valley and hill in this world is determined by a human gesture rather than a mathematical formula – everything in this world is hand-painted.

The pixels of the original digital painting are clearly visible in the sharp-edged, mosaic-like texturing of the artwork, which forms the impossibly thin digital skin of the landscape. Each pixel is mapped to a corresponding polygon whose height is determined by the intensity of the original painted pixel. The specificity of digital media – the inherent qualities of pixels and polygons – is accentuated in a deliberate rejection of mimesis. Here, the reality of the virtual is not obscured by an attempt to simulate an everyday experience of the physical world. The pixels and polygons are not shiny and do not cast shadows: this artwork paints a crude, raw digital reality, stripped bare of special effects.

Review: Unless you fully comprehend what you are seeing in ‘Skinscape’ you are not going to get it. This is an interactive art experience and it is of a painting by Ian Truelove. While you can see the painting you can also go into it and explore the brush strokes and groves in gigantic proportions. This makes for a weird, colourful landscape that almost feels like an alien world that the groves of a painting. Some will enjoy it and many others will not, but at least it is free so everyone can give it a go.

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