Two Australian digital artists will board the RSV Aurora Australis next year to document the journey from Australia to the Antarctic, with the aim of creating a virtual reality experience upon their return.
The artists, Dr Adam Nash and Dr John McCormick (collectively known as Wild System), have experience in creating mixed reality artworks and installations. Their artistic Antarctic expedition next year will be made possible thanks to support from the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship and two Australian universities.
While aboard the ship, they will document the journey using “cutting-edge technologies, such as drones, portable motion capture system, ambisonic recordings, LiDAR scanning and still, 360 and video cameras.” This will allow them to map the journey and then convert the recordings into an immersive experience available after their return.
The ship they’ll be travelling on, the RSV Aurora Australis, is over half a mile long, accommodates 166 passengers and currently serves as a “multi-purpose research and supply ship.”
Given the scale of both the ship and the journey, there’s potential for the artists to create a really unique VR experience from the trip. Speaking about the project, Dr McCormick said, “It is a lifelong dream to travel to Antarctica. We want to create a work that honours the spirit of those who have explored the world’s last great wilderness area.”
The resulting immersive experience will be available in “galleries and festivals, and via mobile, gaming and virtual reality technology.” It’s unclear whether the experience will be publicly available on VR headsets, or limited to VR headsets at the aforementioned galleries and festivals. Let’s hope it’s the former – it would be quite cool to take a trip to the Antarctic from the comfort of one’s own home!
The artists will begin their journey in January of next year.