Rule of Three
by Char Davies
The journey into Osmose, an interactive VR environment installation made in 1995, begins with an individual stepping into a harness: a contraption of straps, body sensors, and a headset. From there, they are plunged into a Cartesian grid, dropped down into the depths of twelve graphic worlds in turn. The first-person navigation is driven by balance and breaths, inhalations and exhalations ensuring that travel is slow and measured. As a layer of consciousness is eroded, participants float between realms, slipping into a trance-like state. Space and time become warped, unravelling uncanny translucent forms.
Words by Katherine Fieldgate
directed by Lana & Lilly Wachowski
A green square blinks on a computer screen. Text flashes up, ‘Call trans opt’. Integers cascade, their values rising above binary code. As we home in on a zero, it twitches, exposing blurred edges. We enter a digital rabbit hole, flanked by emerald beams, ending in illumination. Preoccupied by online allusions to ‘the Matrix’, Thomas Anderson is restless. In his alias as a hacker named Neo, he receives a cryptic invitation to address his dysphoria. Red pills are ingested, bullets are dodged, and oppressive constructions are defied. A cyber adversary hunts Neo down, staunch in his support of the status quo, intent on naming our hero among the dead.
Words by John Wadsworth
developed by Tiny Bull Studios
An expanse of nothingness stretches in every direction. We grip a cane in one hand and, tapping it on the floor, release a wave of light. A staircase curves upwards, its railings in grey wisps. We strain to visualise objects on a study desk, and hold our own hands out in front of us. The pale, vein-crossed skin appears lucent in the monochrome. Unlocking a safe, we hear clicks come to a crescendo and feel tremors passing through our body, instructing us as to whether our guesses are getting warmer or colder. Darkness returns as quickly as it dissipated, leaving us to be guided by sound, touch, and echolocation once more.
Words by John Wadsworth
More to discover
The Matrix: You can watch a trailer for The Matrix here, and see the scene described above here. You can read an excerpt from 'The Matrix and Philosophy' here, edited by William Irwin, a transgender reading of the film by Hannah DuVoix for Ontological Geek, and another by Marcy Cook for The Mary Sue.
Blind: You can read an article about Blind by Lewis Gordon for Versions.
Osmose and Blind are both virtual reality artworks. The Matrix is a simulation of reality.
Also on Silent Frame
A roundup of all of Silent Frame's 2017 interviews for The Brief, from Emma Donoghue to Marina Lewycka.
A roundup of the visual artworks and video games featured in the Perspectives column in 2017.
A roundup of the artworks featured in the Rule of Three column in 2017, from Archipelago to Ligneous.