[Project X] Looking at something unfamiliar in the virtual world, Atom&Bits & WONWOORI

2022.3.22

Social media and metaverse deeply penetrated into our daily lives. As the number of accounts increases, our egos also increase one by one. We live with various characters according to the times, but the time to face the true self is rather decreasing. Creators Atom&Bits and WONWOORI provide an experience that allows you to take a closer look at your true self for a while through the project ‘ViRsona’.

 

‘ViRsona’ is a work that WONWOORI and Atom&Bits jointly researched and implemented. They constantly talked about the phenomenon of the existence of multi-personas in the metaverse. The interest in personas is also increasing in an era where people are accustomed to communicating with avatars in a digital environment. In a state where the center and roots of the ego are not well-formed, the reproduction and variation of persona with infinite diversity may have a negative impact on modern people. ViRsona gives you an opportunity to re-examine your true self in such a situation.

ViRsona is a project that utilizes VR technology and biometric data. Biometric data refers to various signals generated by our body. It includes fingerprints and voice, along with brain waves, pulse, electrocardiogram, etc. Participants should attach VR devices and sensors to their bodies that can collect biometric data. Visualized images of body signals appear in the VR video. While watching the video, you will see a certain object. It is your true avatar made of bio-signals. It aims to solely look at your breathing rate and pulse without having any information about race, gender, or appearance. It is also the purpose of the project to show a state of yourself being alive is just enough.

 

It is enough just to breathe, By Atom&Bits
EunJin Kim from Atom&Bits thought that the flow of the era that we should accept, such as metaverse and VR technology, was too fast compared to the speed of her life. She felt like it might be a waste of time someday if we were just rushing to keep up with technology and civilization. She was concerned about the overturning situation of becoming a media artist working for the media. Atom&Bits decided to utilize the device effectively in reverse. She believed that this project could deliver two purposes to people.
Now, people should inevitably enter the digital world. The rejection of digital life is tantamount to rejecting socialization. EunJin Kim thought that modern people were feeling the fatigue of having to adapt to both real and virtual societies. The first purpose of ViRsona is to provide time to those who do not have any time to look at themselves to deeply go into their mind. It is kind of sad that we should recognize ourselves through a machine. However, we are already used to the experience of checking our metabolism through a smartwatch.

The second purpose is the experience of becoming one with the body and mind. In order to keep one’s body and mind at one’s will, we need a lot of training. For example, even when a fitness trainer says that ‘Focus on your back muscles’, there are not many people who can really feel the movements of their back muscles. EunJin Kim has experienced becoming one with her body and mind through the training to feel every nook and cranny of her body delicately while breathing slowly. She believed that this kind of meditative experience could be at least possible to provide indirect experiences to people through virtual technology. People can become aware of their own pulse and breathing that they have never felt or cared about before through watching the video of the avatar created by their own bio-signals. At the same time, people can see that they are alive by themselves in this unusual way.

 

The way to face oneself, By WONWOORI
EunJin Kim from Atom&Bits is in charge of storytelling for ViRsona. She created a space where participants could immerse themselves in the work by installing lighting, metronome, and incense. SeungKi Kim from Atom&Bits implemented a virtual space that responds to data.

Composer WONWOORI took his part in the music and sensing of ViRsona. WONWOORI creates music for those who can hear through a cochlear implant that delivers electrical impulses to the auditory nerve. It is difficult for cochlear implants to tell the difference between the pitch of a sound like ordinary people. Therefore, it is difficult for them to feel touched by the music that a non-disabled person listens to. WONWOORI composes to make music that can make people feel inspired.
WONWOORI tried to visualize biometric data through ViRsona. It is creating a video by recognizing one’s own breathing rate and the pulse signals. The audience can have an experience of themselves being alive. After checking their own bio-signals, they can recognize themselves and naturally feel their existences. Finally, ViRsona plays a role in guiding a person into the true self.
BCI (Brain–Computer Interface) is a sensing device mainly used in ViRsona. It is a tool that collects brain waves. It seeks ways to enhance the true self in the virtual environment by combining biometric data with the virtual environment. It allows you to use your imagination that you can feel and focus on your body even at the moment you are connected to the virtual space. WONWOORI introduces a new way to the audience that goes beyond the existing sensory experience inspired by meditation that focuses on one’s true self.

 

About the Artist

Atom&Bits
<Studio Atom&Bits> 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 places by combining space directing with stories and the audience participatory system development.

Wonwoo Lee (WONWOORI)
Artist WONWOORI substitutes and analyzes the data of the object to be interpreted into the sine wave, the minimum component in music. In this process, he gets inspiration for musical composition and tries to put the analyzed object at the center of the art medium. Especially, he is expanding the possibilities of human beings with music and technology, considering people who are easily excluded from art. Since 2019, he has been studying the limited auditory perception of the hard of hearing and exploring the essence of music. He majored in composition at Kyun Hee University, and studied computer music at the department of musicology in Korea National University of Arts.

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