Mat Collishaw presents his first VR artwork at Somerset House and as part of Photo London, the annual photography fair from 18 May - 11 June 2017.
For Thresholds, Collishaw restages one of the first historical exhibitions of photography of William Henry Fox Talbot’s prints at the King Edward’s Schools in Birmingham in 1839. The exhibition is experienced using HTC Vive VR headsets to create an immersive experience of the exhibition. Visitors are free to wander the space and touch objects and fixtures in the life-size model of the room has been created for the show.
The 19th century exhibition was one of the most innovative exhibitions of the day. Many of the original photographs have faded and degraded and Thresholds seeks to bring back for audiences to experience this historical moment that has been lost. The experience of the exhibition has only been made possible with new VR technologies which allows for a fully immersive life-like experience of a moment in the past. Other visitors in the space appear as ghosts roaming the space.
Collishaw says “I have been looking to work with virtual reality for a number of years and I’m delighted that it has now become a feasible medium for me to us in an artwork. VR’s ability to enable visitors to revisit the birth of photography – a medium that has come to saturate our lives – is uncanny and compelling. It’s also quite appropriate as VR is the total 360 degree immersion of the viewer within an image, and is itself one of the many innovations spawned by the invention of photography.”
Sedition is launching a new digital edition Breaking Faith as part of the show. In December 2016, Sedition supported Collishaw’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete the project. This edition will be given as a reward for those who supported the campaign. Breaking Faith will launch on Sedition on 18 May 2017 in a digital edition of 500.
Following London, the exhibition will tour to the Waterhall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, Fox Talbot’s former home and The National Media Museum in Bradford. Thresholds was created in collaboration with photographic historian Pete James, Paul Tennant from Nottingham University’s Mixed Reality Laboratory, Larry Schaaf, a Fox Talbot expert, Architectural Historial, David Blisset, VMI studios and The Whitewall Company, London.