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Trippy VR self-portrait takes you inside its artist creator’s body

Why it matters to you

This Californian artist's VR self-portrait shows how creatives are jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon.

The best artwork puts you inside its creator’s head.

Los Angeles artist Theo Triantafyllidis’ latest creation, “Self Portrait (Interior)” doesn’t stop at his head, but also includes a bunch of his lower organs, as well — and all of it in stunning, slightly unnerving high definition virtual reality.

The work in question is hailed as a “guided tour” of its creator, in which viewers aren’t just passive onlookers but get to make gamified decisions, courtesy of different path choices. You start off on an icy beach, before beginning your intrepid journey into Triantafyllidis’ giant, deceased-looking head, down his throat, and … well, wherever else you want. Imagine a more unnerving, artistic version of the classic 1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage, and you won’t be too far off!

It’s pretty interesting stuff, and another example of how artists who, not all that long ago were going gaga over the possibilities of video, are now busy thinking up creative ways to use virtual reality.

On a philosophical level, the work explores not just its artist’s fears and desires, but also postmodern concepts about reality versus artifice and the nature of free will in simulations. On a technical level, it’s a nifty demonstration of what’s possible for one person to put together using modern VR game engines and some original ideas.

“Self Portrait (Interior)” was commissioned by DiMoDa, a virtual institution that’s dedicated to spreading New Media Art. It was created as part of a VR group show titled Morphe Presence, which showcased four artists — including Triantafyllidis.

You can download Triantafyllidis’ “Self Portrait (Interior)” in multiple formats here, or the complete DiMoDa group show here. While you can choose whichever VR viewing format you’ve got available, you’re best off experiencing it with an Oculus Rift headset and Xbox controller.