Marina Abramovic, Anish Kapoor to bring VR works to Art Basel Hong Kong

Virtual reality artworks from Marina Abramović and Anish Kapoor will mark the first time either artist has created a work using VR technology.


MARCH 9, 2018 

Details of the works were announced by HTC Vive, which is partnering with Art Basel to bring a VR experience to the Hong Kong fair.

Abramović will present the work “Rising,” which addresses the issue of climate change by allowing visitors to witness rising sea levels. Wearing a headset, viewers will enter a virtual space where the artist will beckon to them from a glass tank that is slowly filling with water.

They’ll be invited to make contact with the virtual Abramović and will then find themselves surrounded by a scene of melting polar ice caps, as the artist asks them to choose whether or not to save her from drowning by pledging to support the environment, thus lowering the tank’s water level.

“This VR artwork raises questions about technology’s impact on human empathy through the lens of a pressing issue facing our world: climate change… I am particularly interested in how audiences’ consciousness and energy will be affected by a virtual experience of helping others,” said Abramović of the work.

Kapoor will bring his work “Into Yourself, Fall,” which premiered before an invite-only crowd during Nobel Week in Sweden late last year.

Described as a journey through the human body, the work opens in a forest clearing, where viewers encounter a black void in the ground. They then travel through a series of tunnels whose walls appear to be made of flesh and muscle. A soundtrack was created by the artist’s son, Ashan Kapoor.

Art Basel Hong Kong runs March 29-31. According to HTC Vive, visitors will be able to explore the two VR works both at the fair – in the HTC Vive Lounge – and at home via the VR app store Viveport.

Ishan Kapoor