(endless) Wall

v3.0 by: Michael Takeo Magruder with Drew Baker, 2020

A real-time virtual world in which a user exists in a state of perpetual containment and isolation.

About the Artwork:

We are a divided society. Throughout history our ancestors have purposefully constructed barriers and divisions to fragment the world's population. From land and wealth to knowledge and freedom, social engineering has created arbitrary imbalances between nations and individuals alike.

In this age, new industrial and communication technologies have the potential to extend human creativity and provide numerous benefits within our everyday lives. Although such technologies can engender an open and enabled society, these mechanisms are often implemented in processes of restriction and control. From the proposed US Southern Border Wall to the growing number of firewalls that restrict what citizens can see online, governments and corporations often seek to surround us with impassable barriers under the guise of 'protection' and 'security'.

(endless) Wall is an algorithmically generated virtual environment into which a single individual can venture. Upon entrance, the user is confronted by a wall that spans into the distance, whilst behind them a barren ground dissipates into a void. The wall is impassable. As the individual journeys along its base there is never a break in the structure or a means to transverse the barrier.

At regular points, small openings like narrow slits of a prison cell allow the individual to gaze into the space that lies beyond. The view is not of a utopia, but only another wall – imposing and unbroken like the first. In the distance, a soft light emanates from the sky and stretches across the horizon while the faint sound of unseen songbirds echoes through the air. The passage of time is recorded only by quickly vanishing rays of light and the constant movement of the clouds above.

We sense the notion of a better place (perhaps a better life), but we cannot reach it.

Artwork Documentation:

In Collaboration with:

Drew Baker [ Unity3D programming ]

With Thanks to:

Mila Askarova & Tina Maslakova [ curation ]

Supported by:

(endless) Wall v3.0 was created in 2020 for the Enter Through the Headset 5 exhibition at Gazelli Art House, London. Version 2.0 was created in 2015 for the Your Jewish Museum: Journeys exhibition at The Jewish Museum London. Version 1.0 was created in 2008 with generous support from King's Visualisation Lab, Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London.

Artwork Requirements:

Modular VR installation using: high-specification computer system capable of real-time high definition 3D rendering (Unity3D); Oculus Rift virtual reality headset (CV1 or S); and immersive audio system.

Video Documentation:

[ View Version 1.0 ]

[ View Version 2.0 ]

© TAKEO 2020