away from reality

Step Into a Near Future Where Londoners Withdraw From Reality

Why gawk at Big Ben, take a stroll in Kensington Gardens, or ride the underground if you can get more from a screen?

With VR headsets set to roll out to markets in the next few months, the gaming experience is on the verge of a revolution. What more, the way we experience our surroundings is also transforming, and new technologies mark a period of increasing social isolation. In Away from Reality, two artists and a photographer comment on the changing nature of our society by envisioning a future London where the virtual eclipses reality.

The project was led by London based artists Tayfun Sarier and Guus ter Beek along with Instagram influencer Mr. Whisper, and depicts people engulfed in their own virtual worlds. Cut off from the surrounding environment, Londoners are blind to the historical landmarks, cultural experiences, and urban greenery that make up the city’s vibrant and emotional character.

Described by the creative team as our “modern day phenomenon,” Away from Reality (AFR) isn’t so much different from what’s already taking place in cities today. We might find ourselves absorbed in our phones or blindly obsessing over the perfect selfie, and it becomes easy for us to lose sight of the physical beauty and subtle intricacies of our surroundings. And while immediate information and entertainment is gratifying, people still seem to walk away unfulfilled.

\Rather than mock the future of technology, the pictures seem to act as a paradoxical PSA, urging us to take caution in how we let new technology into our lives. VR is unlocking new imaginative worlds but strapping on a headset is isolating in nature. And no matter how realistic or social the VR experience gets, we’ll face obstacles in making these digital experiences meaningful, and satisfying for our physical and spiritual selves.

Whatever deeper meaning or artistic intention we may take from the images, the project clearly plays off modern technologies and urban experiences. Our society is increasingly becoming divided by digital and physical realities, and its ultimately up to us how we decide to balance this dynamic in every aspect of our lives.

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