English (US)

Precipice (John Tonkin 2024)

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Published on2024/04/30
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Precipice is a VR project that explores my intense fear of heights (acrophobia). It is part of a bigger series of VR artworks that sit within the essay-film genre and investigate the interrelationship between anxiety, panic and space. The work extends my ongoing research into the relationship between the body, movement and vision, to consider how anxiety influences how we perceptive our surroundings as well as the embodied first-person experience of being a body. How are memories, knowledge and patterns of thinking embedded in both the landscape and in the body? Since 2022, I have been using Mozilla Hubs and more recently STYLY as teaching tools to introduce students to authoring VR artworks. STYLY like Hubs is quite a constrained tool, particularly in relationship to interactivity. Technical constraints can be productive, because of these limitations I have focused on building a virtual space that is primarily a soundscape. The soundtrack includes several voice-overs that include my own memories of different acrophobic experiences as well as abstracted extracts from psychological diagnosis acrophobia questionnaire, lists of symptoms, as well as breathing and relaxation exercises. Precipice seeks to shift the experience of spatial anxiety by modulating the temporal dynamics of the lived experience within a virtual environment.


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