A cutting-edge exhibition premiering a series of interactive, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects created to represent artistic visions of the "singularity" (when technology and humans come closer to merging) will be on display at Orange Coast College's Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion from Jan. 29 until Apr. 4, 2020. Assembling a variety of work from OCC Film and Television students and faculty, the exhibition will be presented in sections, such as virtual reality narratives and sculptures, along with augmented reality portals to distant futures.
The exhibition, titled "Immersion: Visions of the Singularity through VR/AR," is co-curated by Matthew Newman, OCC Professor of Film & Television's VR and AR courses, and Scott Broberg, Film & Television and Immersive Media Specialist, who founded the program.
"For a program of study that represents the kind of cutting-edge technology curriculum unseen at two-year colleges, OCC's Immersive Media (VR/AR) certificate has been a long time coming," says Broberg.
On Thursday, Feb. 6, there will be a preview reception from 5–7 p.m., followed by a curatorial walk-through on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 1–1:30 p.m., and an artist-led tour and book signing by John Upton of his exhibition in the Main Gallery, from 1:30–2 p.m. The artist reception will continue until 4 p.m. and admission to all events is free.
OCC instructors, Matthew Newman, Chris Kerins, Sam Yip, and Cheryl Cotman, along with local game developer, Tony Godfrey, have collaborated on VR/AR projects with OCC students, including Jack Ahearn, Brandon Bruemmer, Matt Collaco, Anthony Cruz, David Hartman, Brian Kieu, Bao Nguyen, Jessica Nguyen, Dobravka Pineda, and Karl Schreyer.
Virtual reality first emerged in video game arcades nearly 30 years ago, and during the 1990s video game makers tried, and failed, to develop affordable VR headsets that consumers could use at home. Ultimately, many large companies could not find success in their VR/AR product lines because even though the concept was sound, timing was not right. Over the past couple years, as the industry has begun to penetrate mainstream culture with advancements like Facebook's Oculus and popular AR mobile apps such as Pokemon GO, the time has finally arrived.
Students at OCC have access to the latest VR and AR equipment, allowing them to build a portfolio of work that can lead to employment or transfer to a four-year program, such as those found at USC and Stanford University. The possibilities for this type of learning experience truly are endless. History students can travel back in time to see what the Roman Colosseum looked like 2,000 years ago. Art students can incorporate AR elements into their work. Biology students can dissect a frog without ever touching an actual frog. And Astronomy students can travel anywhere in the solar system..
Concurrent exhibitions in Spring 2020:
- "Right Place, Right Time: A Survey of John Upton's Photographs," Jan. 29–Apr. 4,
- "Immersion: Visions of the Singularity through VR/AR," Jan. 29–Apr. 4, Project Gallery
Also on view during the exhibition, through March 28, at the OCC Planetarium is James Hood's "MESMERICA," a groundbreaking immersive audio-visual experience, exhibiting in planetariums and dome venues across the United States and Canada. Tickets to "MESMERICA."
Admission is free for all exhibitions. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., and First Saturdays, Noon until 4 p.m. (Feb. 1, Mar. 7, Apr. 4). The gallery is closed on Fridays and school holidays in Spring 2019 (Feb. 14, 17, Mar. 23-29). The Doyle is located next to OCC's Parking Lot D, off Merrimac Way, building 180, between Starbucks and the Art Center classrooms. For additional information, call (714) 432-5738, or visit The Doyle website.