Last Thursday (January 19th), the Design department re-started its series of open talks with Design practitioners “Design Means”, and the first guest speaker for 2017 was Marshmallow Laser Feast‘s Ersin Han Ersin, visual artist and director.
After a brief introduction to the history of virtual reality and interactive technologies (which are all a lot older than we usually think!), Ersin Han took the audience on a tour throughout his innovative, mind-expanding work which tackles our lack of meaningful connections with nature and looks at worlds that lie beyond our human sensory perception.
One of the projects described in detail, In the Eyes of the Animal, allows users to experience the environment in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria from the perspective of four different animals: a midge, a dragonfly, a frog and an owl. The work draws upon scientific information on what we know about animal perception, but it is inevitably based on a great deal of artistic speculation and reimagining. The project also included a VR helmet with a novel design, moving away from our stereotypical image of virtual reality headsets.
Another project described in the talk, Treehugger, focuses on giant Californian sequoias and their secret inner workings. The user can follow a single drop of water as it travels through the tree in a beautiful abstract visualisation.
Audience members were also able to ask Ersin Han questions about his work, and try to find out more about how ideas like these come to life, and how design practitioners can balance commercial and passion projects in their professional life.