Since the 1970s, when the first virtual-reality technologies started being used for medical, military, industry and entertainment purposes, architects have speculated about the possibilities that working with these technologies could bring to architecture. Today, virtual, augmented and mixed reality are blurring the boundaries between the physical and the virtual, and questioning what is real and what is fictional.
Invisible Landscapes: Imagination (Act III) presents projects by four architectural practices— Gilles Retsin Architecture, ScanLAB Projects, Keiichi Matsuda and Soft Bodies. From immersive installations to film and virtual-reality experiences, the third act of Invisible Landscapes explores how the virtual might transform the physical space and vice versa in architectural design. All question how we might interact with and look at the world around us, both now and in the near future.
In collaboration with HTC VIVE for the second time, the Royal Academy of Arts commissioned Weightless Bricks as part of Invisible Landscapes: Imagination (Act III). Weightless Bricks is a site-specific mixed reality experience created by Soft Bodies, speculating on the imaginary potential of future virtual work environments. It explores how we can place value on designs that exist in the virtual and, more widely, how our current physical workspaces and working life could be transformed in a virtual world.
Experienced through a virtual-reality headset, viewers will adopt the first-person perspective of a worker, led through a series of virtual spaces blended with some of the physical objects presented at the exhibition with which they interact in real time. The viewers will explore a hybrid scenario where physical architecture has become fully entangled with a virtual world. This is a project proposing different scenarios for creative production in the virtual space in the near future.