shinpei takeda: limit of your safe space
May 6-september 11, 2022
This exhibition is a augmented-reality experience. Important elements of the installation are accessible using a mobile device to scan QR codes while in the gallery. Click here to view the virtual reality elements from wherever you are.
The concept of “safe space” has taken on new importance and meaning as the effects of a global pandemic have influenced the way we interact and keep our distance, both physically and virtually. Meanwhile, as Russia invades Ukraine and as millions of refugees are fleeing the violence, we are again witnessing those seeking safe spaces. This exhibition explores what that concept means to individuals, especially those impacted by the experiences of immigration, forced displacement, and active combat, and how personal interpretations of safe space can be expressed artistically.
Throughout the Fall of 2021, Tijuana- and Dusseldorf-based artist Shinpei Takeda guided a series of virtual-reality workshops with five selected participants across the globe who identify as are immigrants and refugees including two United States Armed Forces veterans, as they shared stories about how their physical, social, digital, and psychological spaces have been impacted by their experiences. Participants worked with the artist collaboratively to envision, design, and create an expression of their safe spaces within the virtual environment.
The artist described the collaborative workshop process as a free-flowing conversation in the metaverse: “I am trying to just hang out with them and talk with them to create a best safe space,” Takeda explains. “Obviously we are getting at the idea of ‘safe space’, but we are improvising as they go. For example, one participant started talking about her diving experiences. We created the virtual space to simulate an ocean, and we started drawing forests of kelp. As we drew, we also started talking about difficult and traumatic memories from her deployment in Iraq. There is something nice about talking as you move your hand. Creativity flows even if you are talking about difficult things, which is almost impossible to achieve in traditional interviews with questions and answers.”
In the resulting exhibition, visitors will experience a mixed-reality environment exploring the purpose of safe space, both in our society and in emerging virtual spaces, and the possibilities of virtual space as a tool for finding sanctuary. A physical installation designed and constructed by Takeda based on the results of the workshops will be augmented by the virtual reality environments created by workshop participants, which visitors will interact with using their mobile devices. Additionally, videos from the workshops will present the process of how the participants’ constructed their virtual safe space creations, as well as the participants’ stories in their own words.
This exhibition will open conversations about what it means to feel safe from discrimination, criticism, harassment, and any other emotional or physical harm in society and in emerging virtual spaces.
Screenshots From Virtual "Safe Space" Building Workshops:
Get a closer look at the exhibition and hear directly from workshop participants in this video trailer by Shinpei Takeda.
Larry and Debra Poteet
8348 (New Jersey)
Rock55 (San Diego)
All participants are identified by an anonymous code name
University of Applied Science in Düsseldorf VS-VR lab/Jens Herder and Tobias Schlueter
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