DD5: Mélanie Courtinat, 2017



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I Never Promised You A Garden

ECAL graduate Mélanie Courtinat joined the Digital Decade exhibition together with her counterpart Salomé Chatriot. With the help of Virtually Mine LTD Mélanie installed her immersive piece and was a center of attraction and queues during the event.

"I Never Promised You A Garden" is a VR Art piece interacting with the viewer through the goggles and visible for the audience as a projection outside his/her experience.

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I Never Promised You A Garden is an immersive experience that places the public at the heart of a luxurious hanging garden filled with imaginary plants. People are invited to wander through this installation using virtual reality and allow the flowers to bloom with the touch of their hands. These interactions create sounds that add to the ambiant drone.

However, if the user decides not to interact with the garden by simply staring at it and not taking advantage of the possibilities that virtual reality has to offer, he won’t be allowed to experiment it in its entirety since the garden is capricious and therefore won’t reveal itself. While the garden can be generous and welcoming, he’ll fade if being neglected, leading to the end of the experience.

This digital artwork, both sensual and dreamlike, questions the idea of engagement with its viewers. After noticing that most part of the public doesn’t interact with virtual reality artworks - not because of a lack of understanding towards this unfamiliar technology, but by being reluctant to take a leap from playing the role of the viewer to being the actor-, the artist decided to place the idea of engagement of the user at the heart of the experience.

What is to be done when people are unwilling to interact with an interactive artwork. What is the design of refusal?

Case Study