With The Flower Matrix, Claudia Hart proposes a new kind of liminal space – a seductive environment for viewing her immersive world. Mixed-reality architecture becomes fantastical, embellished by decorative elements embracing an aesthetic of the fake in which technology has replaced nature, sugary sweet and chemically toxic in equal measures.
The Flower Matrix is presented at Wallplay’s VR “speakeasy” in the basement of Gallery 151 as part of the TRANSFER VR Commission, a platform for supporting artists who are expanding the potentials for embodiment through considered physical encounters.
In The Flower Matrix Hart reinterprets the “labyrinth of the minotaur,” a mythological maze from which there is no escape. As its source, an appropriated computer model taken from the free-online digital repository 3D Warehouse, is covered with an edited selection flashing emojis, the icons of power, money, addiction and control.
These are the symbols of casino-capitalism, both seductive and oppressive. An immersive audio score plunges visitors into an intensely embodied and incessantly unfolding narrative of signs and symbols, as they navigate The Flower Matrix.
Originating as immersive VR, Hart’s new work also pushes into the real world as hand-thrown ceramics, floor coverings, fabrics, furniture and wallpaper – decor harvested from the imaginary Flower Matrix. Augmented-reality decor is coded to trigger Hart’s custom Looking Glass augmented app.
With the Looking Glass loaded on a smart device, users can view animations culled from the Flower Matrix embedded in its surfaces, placing viewers in a disorienting loop of modalities where the rational order of reason and technology has turned in on itself.
The Flower Matrix is commissioned by TRANSFER and presented by Wallplay. Ceramics hand-thrown by Kimi Kim. The audio for The Flower Matrix was specially composed by Edmund Campion, cello by Danielle DeGruttola, and vocals by Claudia Hart and Mikey McParlane.
Claudia Hart has been active as an artist, curator and critic since 1988. She creates virtual representations that take the form of 3d imagery integrated into photography, multi-channel animation installations, performances and sculptures using advanced production techniques such as Rapid Prototyping, CNC routing and augmented-reality custom apps.
Her works deal with issues of representation, the role of the computer in shifting contemporary values about identity and the real, and specifically questions ideas about what might be considered “natural.” Her project is to feminize the masculinist culture of technology by interjecting emotional subjectivity into what is typically the overly-determined Cartesian world of digital design.
Wallplay is an experiential arts network where brands become patrons of culture by connecting with artists, curators, technologists and gallery spaces for mixed reality collaborations. Wallplay is a full-time member of NEW INC. which was founded by the New Museum in 2014 and is the first museum-led cultural incubator dedicated to supporting innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship across art, design, and technology.