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Jakob Kudsk Steensen – “Primal Tourism” (VR)

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Primal Tourism (2016) is a virtual reality art work, where colonialism, tourism and science fiction intertwine with one another. The work takes you on a first person virtual reality tour of the iconic tourist Island Bora Bora in French Polynesia. The landscape of the Island looks both primal and futuristic, as ancient eco-systems are contrasted with future and abandoned tourist resorts, and the camera shifts between movement patterns, which appear human, animal and drone-like. The work was developed over eight months by the artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen in the program Unreal Engine, one of the industry leading software for big industry computer game development today. This gives the work a polished and alluring look, while the landscape of the virtual Island is based on actual satellite data and travel journals, which anonymous people have shared online on the forum Reddit. In addition, the logbook of Jacob Roggeveen, who ventured to the region on behalf of the East West Indian Trading company in 1722, has been a key source of inspiration for the artist. Ultimately, Primal Tourism presents us with an uncanny way of perceiving ones own relationship to time and space, because fantasy, technology and ecology merge with one another.

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