Matterport camera

Above: Matterport Pro2 Lite 3D camera. Credit: Matterport.

Matterport v. Reality

With the introduction of the reasonably priced Matterport II camera the requirement to go off physically and in person to any given art exhibition becomes a function only of the art space refusing to make a Matterport VR available (thus preserving the ability to sell tickets for entry; get you into the gift shop, etc.).

But, of course, looking at an art exhibition in VR on a laptop screen is Not the Same as seeing it live. The experience--the encounter, as my colleague Judy has it--of being confronted with a work of art cannot really be digitized convincingly.

One of the most basic aspects of an original artwork (particularly painting) is its quality of being astonishingly vulnerable--it is just paint on a piece of stretched canvas or board ... any single viewer could effortlessly reach out and destroy it forever. And it is this quality of defencelessness (of being open to attack), which is not actually possible to represent. In VR this quality of vulnerability is gone. The VR is immutable and already a mediation. The frisson of exposure is inexistent.

(31 March 2018)