Project of creator Atom & Bits <Relaxed Clinic: We prescribe nature> provides relaxation in the digital space. When you wear a VR device, you can see a virtual paradise. What will the resting look like in the future? A short novel by Woo-sung Jung gives a sense of the worldview that people have become accustomed to the digital nature.
Which one would be real, the senses or the feelings? Is it possible to separate what the mind feels from what the body feels? I always have had a hill in mind I wanted to go to. I guess it was May 2019 or maybe it could be June. It was an afternoon when the sweet wind touched the skin and then flew away at the time of the change of seasons. It was the wind that seemed to heal even the old scars. “A person’s heart can be relaxed to this extent. I will never forget this moment forever.” I was sitting on a bench while having these thoughts.
On the other side, a family on a picnic was playing with a ball. The boy kicked the ball hard, and the girl got it and kicked back again! When the ball bounced in an unexpected direction, their dad got the ball and handed it over again. Their mom was sitting a little far away, and I could not specify whether she was tired or happy. The same wind was blowing between the family playing with the ball and us sitting on the bench.
My mom, who was sitting next to me, was sitting in a slightly drowsy position with dazzling eyes from the sun, fixing a white floral cotton hat. What did we talk about at that time? I wonder if we were silently listening to the sound of leaves that comes from the wind passing by the trees. Maybe, I wonder if I was saying that I wanted to hear “shoo” and “swish” forever.
It was not far away. The place was nearby suburb where I could go again at any time if time allows even now. But every time I feel like it, I think about it again. Now that the hill is gone, there will be no trees or wind. I will never meet the family who were playing with the ball again. If some longings still remain, it is maybe because of that reason. It is because I will never meet again. It is because no one can reproduce it. It is no longer possible to have the relaxed conditions as perfect as that day.
The fact that nature is everywhere is now a bit of a naive illusion. But someone will still ask.
“There are still traces of the Han River in Seoul, right? There are some mountains anyway.”
Whenever they said that, I wanted to ask back.
“So, when you go to the waterside, was it as beautiful as it was in the old days? Did you feel relaxed when you saw a flat mountain?”
The rich people invested all of their money into the land, gardens, and landscapes because they wanted to enjoy it closer when they want to see the nature. It was a huge greenhouse that could perfectly control the climate. They put the four seasons into the windows and moved a forest into the garden. They were mostly two or three-story houses, but a flat, close to the ground, and spacious single-story house was as a means of showing off dignity. Some people made lakes and rivers according to the size of the land. In such a house, a fragrant and nice real wind blew. He spoke with a slightly blushed face.
“I don’t go out of the house often. No matter where I can go in the world, this is the best place for me. … It’s perfect.”
A face where richness and shyness get along well together. Nature was already a valuable resource. The prices for houses close to the ground have soared every year.
I lived on the 81st floor. It was a high-rise apartment built with no windows due to the strong winds at the height. Before going to sleep, I sat down in a chair wearing the newly released VR headset by Atom & Bits. I turned the dial back to 2019. It was May or June. To meet the wind of the day that touched my skin and flew away at the time of the change of the seasons. I wanted to see a lazy mom and her family playing with the ball again. I pressed the ‘Start’ button, thinking that it was no different from the rich man’s garden in terms of having complete control over the experiences and senses. A night where nothing exists, but the feeling and mood are real. I was sitting on the hill that afternoon.
Atom & Bits
<Atom & Bits Studio> is a creative studio established in 2020 by two co-founders to construct an extraordinary immersive environment through technology and art. The two co-founders create moments where people can feel refreshed in their daily lives through art and technology in online and offline exhibition halls, retail stores, and public spaces by combining space directing with stories and the audience engaging system development.
CEO of media startup, The Park, a lifestyle columnist, former editors at < GQ> and <Esquire>. He published < You taught me all the seasons I know> a book with essays on relationships, and <Simple Failure> a yoga essay.