Chelley Sherman is an XR artist who has been working in VR for 4 years, creating audio-visual performances, and exploring how to created heightened, highly-perceptive experiences. Sherman says that her experience with scoliosis early in her life severely impacted how she perceived her body, and that one of her first experiences in VR completely transformed her sense of identity and body representation. She was able to see a volumetric capture of her body using Depthkit technology, which was able to giver her a completely new perspective on her body in what she describes a form of phantom limb therapy or mirror box therapy. She’s been hooked on the visceral power of VR ever since pushing the boundaries of perception by creating art that explores the cross-section of the mind and body, with a particular focus on trauma therapies that use techniques like EMDR, brain entrainment, and vibrotactical experiences using the SubPac and other haptics technologies like UltraHaptics.
Sherman was the featured VR artist at the immersive screening of the UN Women Global Film Festival in San Mateo, CA in May 2019, and I had a chance to sit down with her to learn more about her journey into VR and some context about of some her creative explorations. We talk about the sonic architecture of spaces, the importance of embodiment & visceral haptics, and some of her explorations in the frontiers of neuroscience and chaos theory looking at topics ranging from creating differential growth patterns, coral reefs, diffusion reaction patterns, self-organizing patterns, flocking Patterns, swarm patterns, and dynamical cognitive systems. We also talk about the challenges around disassociation, including how multi-participant VR experiences with an AR app on a phone still feel isolated. Finally, we talk about the need for more sophisticated critical discourse about virtual reality work, and the unique challenges around solidifying a brand and identity around success and career advancement versus the need for anonymity for creative experimentation in a context that allows for innovation being born out of many iterations with failures that include fast cycles of candid and authentic feedback.
Here’s a video of Sherman’s Dispersion piece that was showing at the UN Women Global Film Festival, as well as at the Immersive Design Summit party before the opening day.