Virtual Borders Arizona launched the world’s first virtual reality art experience, showcasing the hardships of Mexican illegal immigrants. Conceived as an art exhibition that uses virtual reality to take you to through the desolate Arizona desert, the project is comprised of three huge sculptures created by Jamie Toll, a.k.a Mr. Toll, an Australian street artist. Visual Borders is curated by Gabija Grusaite and the VR experience is supplied by VirtuEye, a London based company specializing in non-gaming VR content.
“Everyone’s trying to put down boundaries or borders on the movement of ideas, people, technologies, and that’s something we feel stops the overall progress of the world,” said Grusaite.
Aiming for a complete immersion, Mr. Toll created three sculptures: a fried egg, a melting globe, and a human trap—metaphors for immigrants who crossed the desert in search of a better life. Instead of placing them in an art gallery, the team set them up in the sands of Arizona, about a three-hour drive out of Phoenix. They took 360-degree panoramas of the exhibition, and along with VirtuEye, they created a 3D virtual reality experience.
“Using VR as a technology enables the audience to experience the site and specific art in a completely new way. It’s not about being a spectator anymore, but rather a fully immersed experience,” said Gabija Grusaite.
The desert itself is an important part of the exhibition. The lifeless background is meant to show the insignificance of political borders.
“We are aiming to raise a dialogue by taking people down to the desert and showing that harsh terrain borders imposed by people are not important,” said Grusaite and added that the desert is also a symbol of one’s journey to success and survival.
Now the team is focused on adding an audio component to the experience such as allowing viewers to hear the stories of immigrants who made it across the harsh land, and are also aiming to showcase the project to anti-immigration oriented celebrities, like Donald Trump.
Images: Virtual Borders