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Virtual Reality exhibition an other-worldly experience

MyHastings May Terminus

Have you always wanted to try virtual reality but never had the chance? Or are you a lover of 1970s and 80s sci-fi and cult films like Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth? Or are you a keen quilter? If so, Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga – Hastings City Art Gallery has a mind-blowing exhibition which will interest all of you!

While this may seem like a very disparate group of interests, it’s at this intersection where the collaborative work of artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward come together. Jess grew up in Tauranga on a diet of 1970s and 80s sci-fi and pop culture, while Simon grew up in Havelock North, the son of a graphics and hard tech teacher, and spent his weekends mucking about with old Apple computers and video cameras borrowed from his dad’s school.

The pair met in Melbourne and have become ongoing collaborative partners – Jess creates complex analogue drawings of alternate realities which Simon then turns into immersive digital experiences – be it moving images or virtual reality. The most ambitious example of this collaboration is Terminus, a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols, traversed via a network of travellators and gateways, all experienced by you, the viewer, through five virtual reality experiences.

Terminus seamlessly brings together a built real world with a virtual one, so you really are immersed within the work, and minds, of these two talented artists. It is complemented by several quilts, created by Jess in collaboration with her mother, Cynthia, which are being shown in New Zealand for the first time, right here in Hastings.

So, if you’re curious about VR, quilts as a visual art form, or you just want to tap out of this world and into a whole new one for a bit, come see Terminus. It’s free entry and on from now until October 24.

Please note, Terminus will open to the public from 11am on Mon-Thurs, and from 10am on Fri-Sun. This is to allow as many local schools as possible to experience this incredible exhibition without disrupting your experience.

2 May 2022

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