Interactive Art +

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Conspiracy: Conjoining the Virtual

Kristin McWharter (US)


A participatory artwork that incorporates virtual reality within sculptural form. The work interrogates individual subjectivity within collective decision making as five people interact through the sculptural object—each directed by their own augmented reality experience. Inspired by the manipulative nature and allure of virtual reality as well as the persuasive rhetoric of game mechanics, the participants play a simple game of capture the flag within the virtual space while the sculptural fixture restricts their movement compelling them to predictably move side to side in physical space. This behavior in turn activates the physical object; each headset is separated by a set of bellows such that when participants step side to side air compresses as if the sculpture is “breathing.” This work builds on the artist’s research of how isolating qualities of VR in conjunction with social haptic feedback can expose viewer subjectivity and social influence through the expression of the body.

In my work I am most immediately trying to understand how people experience relationships, and specifically how people experience the tension between competition and intimacy. I use these tensions within participatory sculpture as tools to re-frame how we see or identify with this larger social context. This work investigates how virtual reality can give us new perspective on the role of the individual in a collective intention and seeks to expose the fallacy of the hivemind.


Kristin McWharter (US)

Kristin McWharter (US) is a multi- disciplinary artist whose work interrogates the relationship between competition and intimacy. Her research explores where personal subjectivity and broader social dynamics come in conflict from within both individual and group perspectives. She uses immersive sculptural installations, videos, and viewer-inclusive performances to blur the boundaries of social intimacy and personal narrative in an effort to invoke viewer’s individual relationships to affection, antagonism, sincerity, and discomfort. Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the Hammer Museum, Bangkok Arts and Culture Center, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012 and is currently a 2018 MFA candidate at UCLA in Design and Media Arts.