On the occasion of the exhibition Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings, Novelab has developed a series of experimental virtual reality experiences with Zaha Hadid Architects in partnership with Google Arts & Culture. This installation offers a dynamic and immersive insight into the workings of Hadid’s paintings and will be available to view in the gallery throughout the exhibition.
There are four individual experiences available in this virtual simulation of the Gallery environment, each developed from the paintings: [Zaha Hadid] The World (89 Degrees), 1983; The Great Utopia: Tatlin Tower and Tectonic “Worldwind”, 1992-93; The Peak: Blue Slabs, 1983; and Leicester Square: Blue and Green Scrapers, 1990 [Property of Zaha Hadid Foundation].
There is also a Kinect part in the experience which allows the user to see himself into the virtual gallery at the “physical-real” position of where he is and to see people that are close to him.
The first-person perspective inherent to immersive VR is the closest development of this thought and therefore the right medium to continue to explore.
Plus, the Google Arts & Culture virtual reality experiences brilliantly bring to life Hadid’s utopian ideals for organising and interacting with space, plunging viewers vertically down and around her futuristic images as though immersed in a version of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
In keeping with Hadid’s continuous integration of technology and innovation into her work, the Virtual Reality (VR) project was developed in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture, and is an integral component of the show. This immersive experience further emphasises that many of the works displayed preempted the technology required to render virtual reality.
The Peak: Blue Slabs, has been turned into a virtual reality experience by Google Arts & Culture and the Zaha Hadid Foundation, along with other paintings, including a dynamic voyage through Hadid’s vision of London’s Leicester Square.
At times it definitely feels as if the work might leap out at you or suck you up into an asymmetrical abyss due to Hadid’s computer-generated style. Pushing this notion further, the show has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to create virtual reality experiences with four of the works, so you can quite literally step inside these dynamic illusions.