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Passing Electrical Storms-1-credits Peter Bennetts.jpg

Navigate the vast cosmos with immersive VR technology blended with macrocosmic imagery for a profound exploration of mortality.

The end of life is an intricate process that encompasses and defines all that is human and has been a focus of enquiry for generations of artists. Drawing inspiration from Charles and Ray Eames' 1977 avant-garde film Powers of 10, the project Passing Electrical Storms seeks to articulate the concept of death as a hyper object, requiring a complex, multifaceted user experience that extends beyond the confines of personal experience into realms of the universal and timeless through metaphysical speculation by combining elements of metaphysical thought, simulated out-of-body experiences through immersive VR-induced exploration of death on a cosmic scale.

The primary contribution of "Passing Electrical Storms" lies in its innovative fusion of VR technology and macrocosmic imaging. This unique intersection of disciplines allows for a novel and interactive perspective of an end-of-life journey, seen through the lens of scientific visualisation of bioelectrical activity and vibrotactile feedback, providing a platform for participants to contemplate their mortality in a deeply personal and evocative manner, rendering a necro nautical self-portrait. The project contributes by proposing a discourse on the dialectics of physics and metaphysics and the tension between transcendence and immanence in understanding death.

The VR experience "Passing Electrical Storms" has had a significant media impact, garnering international attention from outlets like the New York Post, MIXED, Alt Death, Coventry Live, VR Scout, UK's Evening Standard, India's Republic World, and TikTok. A Herald Sun article describes the exhibit as both "meditative and unsettling," and notes the crowds of visitors waiting to participate. NDTV reported on its "calming" and "unnerving" nature, while other media outlets highlighted varied reactions ranging from terror to excitement.

Project Team

Project team:
Shaun Gladwell, Artist
Matthew Jigalin, Lead Designer and Programmer of VR Experience
Leigh Russell,  Hardware and software engineer
Leo Faber, Project producer 


Deakin Motion Lab Project Team:
Stefan Greuter, DML Project Management and Interaction Design
Gerard Mulvany, Programming, Vibro-tactile design, Arduino Interface Design
Renee McMillan, Chromakey video visaulisation
Scott Jackson, 3D Optimisation

NGV team:
Ewan McEoin and Amita Kirpalani

Image Credit: Beter Bennets

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