View nature in a whole new light – The Argus Guide | TomTech

Edwin Gilson highlights the stunning Habitats Virtual Reality experience, the debut event of this year’s #TOMtech programme at The Old Market

. Click The Argus Guide to read online version.

We are trying to expand human perception to a new level that has never been seen before,” says Ersinhan Ersin of Marshmallow Laser Feast. “The locations we’ve been capturing for these projects, such as Sequoia National Forest, Bristlecone and Pine Forest are of cultural significance.
“It is fair to say that in these uncertain times we don’t know whether these habitats will exist beyond the end of this century. The repetition of day-to-day sensory bombardment can make us numb to the world around us,” says Ersin. “VR can work like an un-blocker – it shakes our snow globe.
“We offer momentary sensory replacement in In the Eyes of The Animal and hopefully that leads not just to empathy but also a behavioural shift towards compassion, love and respect.”
What to expect in Habitats

This large-scale installation – which will take up most of the main space in The Old Market – consists of musical ‘trees’ made of metal and lasers which visitors can physically shake, and pluck. Interacting with the trees causes them to swing and oscillate, creating vibrating patterns of light and sound. The end result of this is a harmonious orchestra in surround sound – which every guest participates in.
By use of a virtual reality headset, Treehugger lets the viewer experience the size and beauty of one of the largest living individual organisms on earth – a sequoia tree. The longer you hug the tree, the deeper you delve into the hidden natural world. You can see the tree’s hidden inner structure: grooves in the bark become giant cliffs, pinecones feel like cathedrals. Going further up, participants can explore the top canopy of a forest and the individual tree’s uppermost branches.
In the Eyes of the Animal
This VR experience allows you to see life from the perspective of four British species as you progress through the food chain. Using the VR headset, guests can virtually fly through the forest and become various animals, exploring the landscape.

About #TOMtech
The Old Market created the #TOMtech series in 2016 to find out what new technology can bring to the world of live entertainment and storytelling. They invite artists and members of the public to come and investigate these new worlds for themselves in labs, commissions, debates, gatherings, performances and demonstrations.
Click The Argus Guide to read online version.
Habitats is the launch event of #TOMtech 2017, at The Old Market in Hove from Tuesday, August 29 to September 10. The full #TOMtech programme features more than a dozen different events with hundreds of opportunities to explore arts, technology and live performance through to October 11. In collaboration with artists, theatre makers and technologists, and supported by Arts Council England, Digital Catapult Centre Brighton and Brighton Digital Festival.