Imagining Space

Published February 08, 2018

How do we capture our full subjective experience of a place through a purely sensory medium? How do we transcend the limits imposed by a virtual reality headset to capture those aspects of our experience which cannot be described as physical realities? It is with these questions in mind that I approached this week’s assignment: create an artful, intentional depiction of a space described by one of your classmates. I used Quill in the Oculus Rift to recreate the space described below by Alex Fast:

I suppose the first thing you notice is the smell. Stale. Damp. Unkept. They say olfactory senses are most tied to memory. Perhaps that’s what keeps me coming back. Pavlov. The power of nostalgia. A slave to the material. Never could get used to those fucking kindles though. The iron racks and fluorescent light don’t deter so there must be something about it. That hidden corner of neglected knowledge. The water-stained, worn labors of love to the esoteric. Maybe it’s the Arvo Pärt that makes this so pretentious. Or a fear of a Faulknerian verbosity. “Make Beckett proud”.

Often accompanied by a too-thick backpack, I politely move forward, nose to spine with the paperbacks. “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty”. “The Captain: Derek Jeter”. “Ball Four”. Some answers in there? Or just roads that look like destinations? Grab three. Four. Five. Four. “An impressive stack”. “What’s he trying to prove?” “You won’t read it all”. “This time I’ll read all of them”. “Mark them to absorb”. “Break the spines”. “To prove what?”. Shelves of forgotten sections hug me. Half Price. Foreign Language. Law. Dedicated inhabitants – proud of their arcane sensibilities – share a wry grin. A nod. “You too?” Me too.

After a fair amount of trial and error, and getting used to working in the virtual space, I came up with the following: