straight up
"There really is an artificial line between someone who
is a real artist and someone who's writing the software for this stuff."
Virtual world, Bosnia

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Click to play video Excerpt from Bosnia

Jenny Holzer | Virtual Worlds <1993>

In 1993, Virtual Reality: An Emerging Medium, opened at the SOHO Guggenheim Museum, one of the first exhibitions to investigate new artistic directions in virtual reality. The show featured two virtual worlds by Jenny Holzer. The first, created in collaboration with engineer Ken Pimentel, was an untitled piece, inspired by one of Samuel Beckett's short stories, The Lost Ones. It featured a cavernous world in which souls alternately flee from and engage the viewer. If you catch them they speak one of Holzer's trademark truism phrases.

Holzer collaborated with Jeff Donovan on her second world, offering a response to the violence against women in the Bosnian war. Here, you enter and find a vast patterned desert of striking color: bright orange earth and deep blue sky. As you travel across the landscape, a circle of buildings appears on the horizon. When you reach the village you see that each building is an identical cinderblock hut. Soon you reach another village. Again the same square, block huts, but these are lined up in double rows like barracks. The voices here have the same simple, flat tone, but the words are violent. Each hut harbors a different voice. Each village has a different story to tell. The silence of the desert seems to be watching you.