Virtual world enthusiast Judith Guez at the helm of an exceptional exhibition
By Fabien Fabbula on 14 March 2019
The artist and curator Judith Guez fell in love with immersive art at a young age. As a child she was amazed by the artist Robert Therrien’s huge chairs, mundane everyday objects made more appealing as a result of scale. In fact she was born in 1984, the year Jaron Lanier first outlined the dazzling notion of ‘Virtual Reality’ and founded the legendary company VPL. Judith grew up at the same rate as generations of Nintendo consoles and the best of the ‘cracker’ culture: she took machines apart, dissected programmes, wrote code for her first games, etc.
She honed her thirst for computerised creation through extensive and unconventional research encompassing visual arts and science university courses, before focussing on the first French lab where all these paths converge: INREV at University Paris VIII, a place where IT engineers and artists create virtual worlds. There she discovered a rapidly expanding field where practices and tools were pioneered before being widely introduced to several fields in no time: design, architecture, surgery, etc. She then started to visit SIGGRAPH for the first time, exploring in-depth first generation virtual, augmented, mixed reality with haptics and 3D design software – all you need for virtual creation. She also visited Laval for the first time in 2009 for an industry virtual reality exhibition being held in a small multipurpose room. It was long before the Oculus venture and the event rallied together some of the first enthusiasts. She was a fan from the word go and returned annually for the next 10 years, observing the exhibition’s enormous annual growth. It is now the biggest European event in the sector.
In 2016, when she heard that Laval was opening a permanent centre for virtual reality, the Laval Virtual Center, she immediately contacted the instigator, Laurent Chrétien, with an idea: to unite technology and creation, industrialists and artists; to open somewhere totally dedicated to virtual design and exhibit some of the best virtual art designs once a year during Laval Virtual. This proposal was accepted straight away resulting in Recto VRso, a large exhibition of digital works of art by definition unique in nature and size, presented in a dedicated space opposite the Laval Virtual show (Art & VR Gallery) as well as an itinerary encompassing emblematic places in the town of Laval. Judith Guez has gathered over 40 immersive works from all over the world for 2019. One not to miss: from 20 th to 24 th March 2019.