Jakob Kudsk Steensen's AQUAPHOBIA is a stunning achievement, both on technical and conceptual levels. Created with Unreal Engine, AQUAPHOBIA is an immersive experience which allows the viewer to navigate through five different environments or "levels" seamlessly connected. These spaces form an ecosystem and include simple to water microbial surroundings and futuristic replicas of Louis Valentino Jr. Park and Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn, developed in a scale accurately one to one. The "goal" of this non-game is to to overcome fear of water, hence the title, AQUAPHOBIA. The work features a voice-over narration by Rindon Johnson.
As the artist writes,
AQUAPHOBIA uses VR to connect inner psychological landscapes with exterior eco-systems. The work is inspired by psychological studies of the treatment of aquaphobia – fear of water- as an entry point to transform perceptions of our relationship to future water levels and climates. [...] While travelling through the landscape, an alien morphing aquatic entity follows you around and emit scuba diving sounds and recites a poem, which tell a breakup story between the landscape and its virtual visitor. Ultimately, AQUAPHOBIA uses VR to mixes past and future geological periods, and the work personifies a landscape through a break-up story.
You may remember Steensen's equally powerful work Primal Tourism, which we featured last year.
Below is a VR documentary created by Steensen:
Jakob Kudsk Steensen is a Danish artist and art director based in New York, specialized in VR and real-time virtual simulations of ecosystems. Through his practice, Steensen is concerned with how imagination, technology and ecology intertwine by developing futuristic virtual simulations of existing real-world landscapes. His work is at the forefront of real-time rendered virtual environments, and he develops projects through collaborations with science, technology and natural science divisions. Steensen also develop work through collaborations with artists from digital media industries, with the aim of bringing diversity in content, and opportunities to experimental developers. As a result, Steensen occupies a space in-between art, science and 3D studio production models.
LINK: Jakob Kudsk Steensen (all images and videos courtesy of the Artist)