Dream Vortex Visualization, mixed media on paper, 9 x 12 inches, 2012. (image courtesy of Studio 110 Projects)
You stand at the center of a vortex. Images swirl around and around, familiar shapes beginning to take form. A solitary buffalo whirls past followed by a group of football players, a humanoid monster stomping on an unsuspecting male figure, another figure appears to be talking to huge flowers. The images appear to be hand drawn, but three-dimensional simultaneously. You can’t help but reach out to touch the buffalo’s fur. In that moment, action is suspended and you realize not only can you touch the buffalo, but your movements cause it to shift in scale. You pull it into the foreground and reach out to grasp another element circling the vortex. A narrative is formed as you continue to select, scale, and shift the placement of the images surrounding you. An imaginary world takes form.
The Dream Vortex is an analog interpretation of a three-dimensional environment currently in-progress by artist, Meredith Tromble. Tromble seized the opportunity to create an interactive art installation for UC Davis’ KeckCAVES with the help of geobiologist Dawn Sumner and a team of scientists. KeckCAVES is a three-walled three-dimensional immersive environment that is powered by workstations using a custom virtual reality operating system. This unique collaboration between art and science is challenging the scientific team by creating a set of circumstances that require new programming to make a reality. Tromble is in-turn including the team in the creation of her work by asking them to contribute dreams to be hand-drawn and uploaded to the vortex.
Dream Vortex, installation views; Studio 110 Projects front room; 2013.
Tromble utilized the gallery space as a testing ground to visualize the development of the vortex highlighting the connect/disconnect between the production of analog and digital work. Upon entering, the viewer experienced the installation of the analog vortex. Tromble’s drawings, 3-D objects, and shapes created with colored tape circled the space mimicking the confines of KeckCAVES.
The Dreams, installation view; Studio 110 Projects back room; 2013.
Central to the work is the story behind the vortex, a tale where technology meets art in an unexpected way. Tromble utilized the back room of the space to tell this story, help answer questions surrounding the technology and completion of the project.
The Dream Vortex Story, installation view; Studio 110 Projects back room; 2013.
Before viewing the installation, the technology behind The Dream Vortex seemed so abstract. Since experiencing the analog iteration of Tromble’s work in scale with the virtual environment it was created for I am excited to see the piece in its final form. Currently, programming still being created for the vortex framework. Once complete, Tromble will be able to upload her drawings and with a little more programing The Dream Vortex will be a virtual environment ready to be transformed by the movements of the viewer.