Checking Out… Virtual Starry Night
A year ago, Robbie Dingo posted an extraordinary clip called “Watch the World(s)”, in which he recreated Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night as a 3-dimensional landscape in Second Life. Alas, nothing remains of that wonderful build but the video.
Virtual Starry Night (Vincent’s Second Life) presents you with the next best thing. Visit the hospital gardens, sit in the cafe, walk around the Starry Night village (and find the Yellow Chair – though it would have been even more fun and fitting to have found the Potato Eaters, but never mind).
This sim is dedicated to the works of Van Gogh, with a number of his best known works created as 3D installations, thereby allowing you to literally step inside the paintings.
See? I’m in Van Gogh’s bedroom! No bouncing on the bed allowed, though. Put a sit on it, guys!
You can find this installation and others in the glass-tubed gallery, or just click on a handy display for the quick 3D tour.
Building an entire sim built around the idea of realising 2D artworks into 3D is a very clever use of virtual environments like Second Life (assuming it’s done well and the process actually adds something to the appreciation and experience of the artworks, of course).
I’d say it succeeds here. An exhibition space like this means many works which would otherwise be located in museums around the world, or else locked away in private collections, can be brought together here and displayed side by side, allowing us to see how they relate to one another in theme, and how Van Gogh’s technique changed over time, and how his compositions and subject matters developed.
Virtual Starry Night is the work of Dutch company Tressis, with plans to develop sims dedicated to other Dutch masters such as Vermeer. I’m in art geek heaven!
And have I mentioned the souvenir shop? Why not finish off your visit to the virtual Van Gogh experience by recreating it in your own (virtual) home with some of these familiar tabletop flowers, for instance? And that bedroom is available as a furniture set, too.
Hmm, is it exploitative when it’s educational? The fact is, I for one would rather live in it (virtually) than look at a second-hand print stuck up on my wall (physically). So, my hat’s off to these guys for a creative build and a very compelling selling angle.
Check out Virtual Starry Night for yourself here.