Virtual adventures in Meatspace

Virtual adventures in Meatspace

A new virtual reality (VR) project presented at The Capitol is exploring and confronting the intersection of technology and the human body.

Traditional virtual reality (VR) has encouraged us to explore beyond the physical body, within new spaces or fantasy worlds with infinite possibilities.

But some unintended physical side effects induced by VR - nausea, motion sickness – have made it impossible to leave the idea of the body fully behind.

Meatspace, an experimental art project produced by Senior Lecturer in the School of Art Dr Ian Haig and supported by RMIT University and the City of Melbourne Arts Grants program, explores ideas around ‘meatspace’ – a term coined in the 1990s for the physical world as opposed to cyberspace.

Presented at a free drop-in event in The Salon at The Capitol on Tuesday 10 December, users will stand on a custom-made mat while wearing an Oculus Rift VR headset, both fabricated with silicon meat, and move through a series of virtual ‘meat rooms.’

Dr Ian Haig wearing the Meatspace VR headset Dr Ian Haig wearing the Meatspace VR headset

Haig, whose work has been exhibited in galleries and media festivals around the world, said he had always been interested in ideas around the body.

“When people talk about bodies these days it’s often framed around gender, identity, sexuality however ultimately, we are all just meat,” he said.

Meatspace is really extending on this idea by travelling further into the human body.”

Haig said Meatspace was a disorienting and experimental experience, with no beginning or ending.

“I think audiences who are open to these kinds of open-ended audio-visual experiences will enjoy it,” he said.

He added that VR technology offered a unique opportunity to explore a different, weird reality.

“The space I am exhibiting the work in The Salon at The Capitol is interesting because it’s not a gallery and not a cinema. This works well for VR – it’s a sort of in-between cultural zone.

“Spaces like this can be more responsive to VR than traditional galleries – it’s a big commitment for audience to put the scuba gear headset on.”

As part of the Meatspace VR experience, users will move through a series of virtual 'meat rooms' As part of the Meatspace VR experience, users will move through a series of virtual 'meat rooms'

After Meatspace wraps up at The Capitol, it will be presented at the Ann Arbor film festival in the United States early next year.

The Capitol was refurbished and reimagined this year as a new destination and world-class environment research, ideas, innovation and new technology.

A ‘new media’ hub in an ‘old media’ setting, The Capitol has provided a new collaborative space for new digital media, augmented reality, gaming, film, video and VR.

The Capitol is part of RMIT Culture, connecting the RMIT community and beyond with extraordinary ideas, spaces and collections.

Visit The Capitol website to view the full events calendar.


Story: Jasmijn van Houten

02 December 2019


02 December 2019


  • Arts and culture
  • Media & Communication

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.