An artist will spend a full 28 days living a virtual life through the Oculus Rift VR headset.
Mark Farid has a Kickstarter page up for his experiment called: “Seeing I: 28 days living only through Virtual Reality”. The conceptual art project requires £150,000 to be funded, but has only just kicked off, with £2,000 pledged as of the time of writing.
The idea is Farid will live the life of another person, “the other”, though the Oculus Rift. The other will be a heterosexual male (who Farid doesn’t know) in a relationship, wearing a pair of glasses to capture audio and video – which will then be played back to Farid via the VR headset. Farid will live out this other life in a space with a bed, toilet and shower area, which will be openly on display to an audience.
He’ll eat the same things as the other, shower and go to the toilet when the other does so, and will have no interaction with any human during the experiment – though he will be watched, and periodically assessed by a psychologist to make sure he isn’t going round the twist or similar.
The idea is to gauge how living another person’s life for a month via the Oculus Rift will impact upon Farid, and how it will affect his sense of self – and to explore issues such as whether a person is an “inherent personality”, and how much of their make-up is cultural identity.
A documentary will then be made post-experiment, detailing Farid’s experiences and findings.
As the Kickstarter page puts it: “The project also raises questions of intimacy, surveillance and voyeurism in contemporary culture and gives an uncensored look into intimate moments of one’s life; when Big Brother meets Gogglebox.”
It’s certainly a novel and interesting idea, and the folks behind it are taking medical precautions as mentioned – though we can’t help but wonder whether an entire month with a VR headset strapped on could do nasty things to the guy’s eyes, let alone his mind.