With their pioneering use of virtual reality, artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, have created a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols. This major virtual reality exhibition is at Tauranga Art Gallery, the inaugural New Zealand venue, from 20 July to 27 October 2019.
Johnson’s drawings are transformed from analogue into digital, animated by Ward and enriched with input from developer Kenny Smith and sound composer Andrew Clarke to create a virtual realty quest; a choose-your-own adventure into the technological.
Prepare yourself for a slippage of time and space as your journey propels you across five distinct realms: you will pass through Fleshold Crossing; take respite in Known Unknown; lose yourself within Scumm Engine; bravely face impending danger in the tower of Gog & Magog; and experience the brink of sensory overload in the psychedelic Tumblewych.
Terminus was commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia and the Balnaves Foundation and premiered at the NGA in May 2018. Terminus is being adapted specifically for Tauranga Art Gallery with the addition of original artwork and large-scale quilts; a collaboration between Jess Johnson and her mother Cynthia Johnson. The centrepiece of the exhibition is five virtual reality artworks housed within bespoke structures situated on a tessellated floor map. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of Cooney Lees Morgan.
The structures of Terminus are custom-built VR stations. Each station operates as a portal, allowing audiences to experience the realm in virtual reality. The Terminus virtual reality experiences draw their imagery from the world that Jess Johnson has developed in her drawing practice over several years. Video artist Simon Ward translates these drawings into 3D animations and virtual environments using the game engine Unity.