Virtual Realism with Fernando Gil at Javaman Coffee-House
November 16, 2016
: This afternoon inside the Hermosa Beach coffee-house “Javaman” on Pier Avenue, I met the Virtual Reality artist Fernando Gil
(Argentina & New York) and we chatted for a couple of hours. Fernando and his team, including technologist Benjamin Gleitzman at MIT, created the first VR artwork shown at the international art show “Art Basel” in Miami Beach, Florida (https://www.artbasel.com/)
Fernando brought with him a hard copy of my 1997 book Virtual Realism and we talked about how his group is implementing some of those VR WAVE 2 ideas in the current art scene at Art Basel. He also gave me a VR tour using the group’s “Calder” project, a unique algorithmic front end to VR telepresence. I donned his Samsung Gear VR headset powered by a Galaxy Note 7 smart phone, and Calder zoomed me through a brief tour of beautiful places in Ojai, California. The virtual tour culminated in a visit to Bart’s Books in Ojai. There, virtually present inside the bookstore on Matilija Street in Ojai, Fernando pointed out the bookshelf where he first found my book Virtual Realism.
After the tour, I signed Fernando’s copy of my book, and in that way the visit came full circle with the virtual tour of Ojai joining our actual presence in the Hermosa Beach coffee-house: the flight of ideas from the 1990s and their later development in the Gil / Gleitzman team joined us in the actual room. The Morning Glory muffin I bought on the way out tasted sweet!