Pop-Up Virtual Reality Experience

What would it be like to step from a museum gallery directly into an intriguing work of art? Have you ever thought it, or wished it? Normally we might only be able to do this in an imaginative dream, but Willamette University student Anna Neshyba '18 has been hard at work transforming this very scenario into a “virtual reality” with two artworks at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Her “Pop-Up Virtual Reality Museum Experience” will take place on the following dates:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018  | 1 - 2 p.m. | Free and open to the public

Saturday, April 21, 2018  | 1 and 2:30 p.m. | Complimentary with museum admission

Tuesday, April 24, 2018  | 1 - 2 p.m. | Free and open to the public

Saturday, April 28, 2018  | 1 and 2:30 p.m. | Complimentary with museum admission

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  | 1 - 2 p.m. | Free and open to the public

Saturday, May 5, 2018  | 1 and 2:30 p.m. | Complimentary with museum admission

During her pop-up experience, Neshyba invites visitors to use a VR headset and VR controllers, to step into two virtual environments based on Paul Missal’s painting “The Hallway,” 1971, and David George Andersen’s mixed media work “Vault of Heaven,” 2013.

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Missal’s “The Hallway” displays a feasible physical space, with items and structures that one might find in a home from the 1970s.

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The virtual representation of Andersen’s “Vault of Heaven” features a much more abstract space, with strange, moving objects, but familiar iconography.

The environments are immersive and designed to emphasize core features of the original works of art which are part of the Hallie Ford Museum’s permanent collection and on display in the Carl Hall Gallery.

Neshyba is a Computer Science major, Art History minor, completing her final semester at Willamette University. Her fascination with virtual reality (VR) had its genesis in a Renaissance art history class, during a discussion of the historical development of perspective and the imitation of reality in European art during the 15th and 16th centuries.

In the summer of 2017, she was awarded a stipend by the National Science Foundation to do research at Louisiana State University. There, she honed her programming skills while developing software and data visualization.

In the fall of 2017, she combined these two backgrounds into her “Virtual Reality and Art” project which seeks to challenge the current reigning perspective that VR is just for gaming. As Neshyba develops these programs, she says her goal is to “expand the interactive accessibility of art, spaces, and the artistic experience, while preserving the integrity of the original works of art.”