Performance Artist to Live as Someone Else for 28 Days Through Virtual Reality
UK performance artist Mark Farid is getting ready to plug into the Matrix. For 28 days, he will essentially live someone else's life, with all of his auditory and visual experiences controlled by a virtual reality headset. Another person will record his experiences on the headset for a month beforehand, and Farid will be confined to a gallery in order to experience that entire month of someone else's life firsthand.
According to the official trailer for the Seeing-I project, "In this playground of immortality, the preservation of experience has taken hold of our existence... The distinction between physical and virtual reality is blurring, and if our consciousness is experienced through the perception of sight and sound, through interaction, through technology, and through our conception of knowledge, to what extent is it really our own?"
It sounds an awful lot like The Matrix, but the project is actually a commentary on technology insidiously encroaching on our lives, particularly the "artificially created" experiences on social media. In the video, Farid characterizes the project as exploring "how much of the individual is an inherent personality, and how large a portion of the individual is a cultural identity. In a world that is artificially created, synthetic experience is taken as reality. Yet our existence, the only truth we can be sure of, lies in a simulation of life, where these artificially created experiences have become our lives. I see who we are as a construct of society, and want to find out to what extent it's possible to lose the sense of oneself."
"Will Mark start to believe this new life as his own?" Probably not literally, but if any one piece of performance art could spur a full-on identity crisis, this would probably be it.