Envisaged and Curated by Adam Lockhart, Simulated by Rhoda Ellis
An iconic video sculpture by David Hall is re-represented in virtual reality: A Situation Envisaged: The Rite II (Cultural Eclipse), 1988-1990. Come experience this work by being immersed in a life-sized ‘VIRTUAL Hall’ or gallery, to appreciate this art work at risk of obsolescence due to its use of redundant technology, namely CRT monitors.
David Hall was one of the pioneers of video art in the UK, beginning with his ubiquitous TV Interruptions he made for STV in 1971 as part of the Edinburgh Festival. He continued to make single screen video works, but his main focus was the creation of video sculptures. Most of these sculptures used old cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors which are no longer manufactured. Although these are still available at the moment, over time they will gradually disappear and it will become more and more difficult to find any working examples. Due to these problems with technological obsolescence, many of Hall’s and numerous other artists works may not be so easily replicated in the future. With this in mind, other ways to present these works need to be considered to allow them to be appreciated by future audiences. One way to do this is by using virtual reality.
As part of the group exhibition for NEoN Media Archaeology: Excavations, David Hall’s video sculpture, A Situation Envisaged: The Rite II (Cultural Eclipse), 1988-1990 is recreated in this way. In the original work, 15 monitors are built as a single block close to a wall. All but one face the wall and are not seen. Contemporary TV broadcasts reflecting on the wall form an aurora of changing light. In the centre, on the only screen to be seen, is a 30 line image of the moon shot on a ‘camera’/scanner identical to that used by J L Baird in the 1920s. The sound, by David Cunningham (Flying Lizards) is derived from multiple broadcast channels, and composed as a musical score.
Viewers will experience the work by being immersed in a life-sized ‘VIRTUAL Hall’ or gallery. This will give the user an idea and ‘feel’ of what the work is like. It should be noted that this is not a replacement for the original work but should be regarded as an illustration or simulation.