The VR experience Theatrum Radix combines systems of categorization used in natural history with contemporary technologies such as CT scans and 3D modeling. In the virtual space, natural objects are turned into new, surreal, moving pictures and supplemented by artworks. Viewers literally immerse themselves inside of bones, or a glass brain, or in the interior life of a dissected frog. They traverse iridescent and shimmering mirror images of wetlands. Boundaries between the types of animals and plants are dissolved, creating a speculative outline dealing with habitats and systems of order. This allows viewers to change perspective. They find themselves at a remove from the human, anthropocentric perspective, and the systems it uses to categorize nature.
The title can be traced back to a seventeenth-century Italian philosopher, Guilio Camillo, and his Theater of Memory. Camillo planned a theater in which he could unite knowledge of the world and of the universe, like an encyclopedia. His theater, however, was never a physical reality. Theatrum Radix picks up on this idea and creates hybrid universe oscillating between the physical world and virtual space, formulating a critique of the human perspective of nature. Theatrum Radix opens up a playful, interconnected view of objects, instead of reproducing order as a hierarchical concept. „Theatrum Radix“ playfully opens up a networked view of the handling of zoological objects and encourages us to think of order not as a hierarchical form, but as an organic and evolving network.
Presented as a part of UNLEASHED UTOPIAS, exhibition of the VR ART PRIZE in cooperation with CAA Berlin (September 9 – November 5, 2023 at Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin).
More information: vrkunst.dkb.de // "Theatrum Radix" is a transdisciplinary virtual reality project by artist Marlene Bart in collaboration with Ikonospace.