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The Marchland Experience

VR by Daniel Ernst

The Marchland places the visitor in a metaphorical space that serves as a border control between the real and the virtual worlds. Invisible cars, whose silhouette is only visible in the rain, pass through the tollbooth ad infinitum. The visitor starts in the tollbooth, where the rain taps the roof relaxing and continuously. The visitor does not see their hands, but feels the position of their hands. This creates a phantom feeling. A feeling that is similar to the feeling of missing a limb. To reinforce this feeling, the visitor can interact with his environment, albeit in a spectral and subtle way. Curtains and flowers wiggle when the visitor moves his hands past them and you can hear sound when the visitor beats the window. You just can’t pick up anything. The visitor is only half there. As soon as the visitor leaves the office and runs into the rain, the visitor’s shape is slowly outlined in the rain as with the invisible cars that pass through the tollbooth. You see a transparent appearance of your “real” self and your “real” environment appears in the rain. The extent to which your consciousness belongs to the real or the virtual world shifts. A feeling is created that puts you in between the real and virtual world.

Daniel Ernst is a Dutch artist who has gained international recognition as a pioneering VR artist. Through his series of VR dioramas, Ernst explores the liminal space between reality and virtual reality, utilizing the possibilities and limitations of VR technology. Currently, Ernst is working on a project called “The Great Orator,” which uses AI and game design to create an infinitely generated simulated story world that comments on contemporary society and aims to make good on the promise of VR to offer simulated worlds

Ernst’ innovative work has been selected, nominated, and awarded internationally, including recognition from AMAZE Festival, IFFR, SXSW, Akademie der Künste, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Arts and EYE Film Institute. In 2019, Ernst was awarded a Golden Calf for his VR diorama “Diorama No.4: Die Fernweh Oper.”