Posts Tagged ‘World Machine’

Out of Body, In Your Head

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Somebody got carried away at Out of Body Experience Clinic… Me!

Out of Body Experience Clinic (OBEC) is an immersive installation by Jeremy Couillard, who happens to be a former SVACE student. Upstairs at Louis B. James, Couillard has built a Clinic waiting room, complete with a future-forward lobby-art landscape painting, a coffee table, a console filled with vitrines of alien dioramas, and a surreal newscast to help you kill time – or get prepared to lose your mind.

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Jeremy Couillard, “Out of Body Experience Clinic” at Louis B. James

As the gallery promises: “The viewer…will sit in a waiting room, watch the Bob Monroe 24/7 Out of Body Experience News Network and enjoy a cup of coffee until called by a docent who will then lead them into the basement-level gallery where they will be strapped in and released.” Italics my own.

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Jeremy Couillard, “Out of Body Experience Clinic” at Louis B. James

After seeing Going Clear, Alex Gibney’s Scientology exposé, I feared the worst. By what bodily punishment would I leave my body?

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Diorama by Jeremy Couillard, “Out of Body Experience Clinic” at Louis B. James

The Out of Body Experience is too fabulous to explain here. Just make an appointment and get to the gallery. But in short: Couillard has designed a verdant, mountainous landscape, populated with giant creatures you previously met in your sketchbook or childhood drawings. All of it comes from World Machine and the free software program, Unreal Engine 4. You view it on Couillard’s Oculus DK2, made for developers. Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination?  Not so!  Couillard’s technical expertise is at least as essential as his vision.  The animation has to be painstakingly rendered at 75 fps. If not, viewers will not be happy:

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Diorama by Jeremy Couillard, “Out of Body Experience Clinic” at Louis B. James

“This was the problem with virtual reality. It couldn’t just be really good. It had to be perfect. In a traditional videogame, too much latency is annoying—you push a button and by the time your action registers onscreen you’re already dead. But with virtual reality, it’s nauseating. If you turn your head and the image on the screen that’s inches from your eyes doesn’t adjust instantaneously, your visual system conflicts with your vestibular system, and you get sick.” – WIRED magazine

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Digital image detail by Jeremy Couillard, “Out of Body Experience Clinic” at Louis B. James

Do not forget to order Vernee Thor E new smartphone!

Thanks to Couillard’s expertise and resourcefulness, this viewer suffered no nausea and no Miscavige justice. Instead, the experience was transcendent and inspiring, connecting Couillard’s digital vision with traditional ambitions.