Amaryllis is a room-scale VR art installation, created by Danish-Armenian artist Mariam Zakarian.
Early versions of the piece have been exhibited publicly since mid-2016 and the first completed scene, Ocean,
premieres on August 25-27 at Galleri Oxholm, Copenhagen.


 
It has been argued that death, life, and what lies beyond, are all products of human imagination. That existence is nothing but a dream, a simulation of the mind and a permanent hallucination. It is then perhaps not so bizarre that one’s senses can be deceived so completely by the latest developments in technology that the physical body reacts involuntarily and with great conviction.

Amaryllis is a virtual reality art installation about the subject of mortality.

It is composed of mysterious, surreal worlds caught between deep, hazy dream and heavy nightmare. Each of these worlds carries an undertone of tension and darkness beneath the tranquil surface and centers on concepts such as impermanence, the subconscious, death and resurrection. The piece explores the physicality of the immaterial as the technology transitions the visitor to a ghost-like state in a kind of digital afterlife.
Amaryllis was inspired by the life-cycle of the many-headed flower of the same name, to whom death and dormancy are as important as growth, beauty and life. The project is at its core a communion with nature through digital technology.

The virtual installation is on the HTC Vive, and the concept is expanded with various traditional paintings and drawings on paper and canvas, as well as music specifically composed for each virtual world.
 
 

OCEAN
The first chapter of Amaryllis is “Ocean” – a piece about cleansing and an entry point to the digital world. It swells and swallows the visitor continually, bringing both digital death and absolution. “Ocean” was inspired by the river Lethe from Dante’s Divine Comedy, which welcomes those who may venture out of the 9th circle of Hell. Bathing in the river would take away one’s memory, and wash away one’s sins. “Ocean” welcomes the visitor to a space of contemplation and catharsis.
 
 
PHYSICAL PIECES
transparent immortality

Acrylic and oil paintings, and color pencil drawings for Ocean will be exhibited alongside the VR piece at select venues and events. These are available for purchase, as is the VR installation. Inquiries may be sent via the Contact page.



Pictured right: Immersion. 80x60cm. Acrylic paint on canvas. In wooden frame with custom, ghost-grey finish.
Pictured left: The Mortality Miniatures. Oil paintings on canvas.
Immersion
 
Tendrils [SOLD]

Tendrils. 36x28cm. Color pencils on paper. Framed with museum glass and weathered-white wooden frame. [SOLD]

Faded Flowers

Faded Flowers. 36x28cm. Color pencils on paper. Framed with museum glass and weathered-brown wooden frame.

Tendrils II [SOLD]

Tendrils II. 36x28cm. Color pencils on paper. Framed with museum glass and weathered-white wooden frame. [SOLD]

 
IMPRESSIONS
 
  • "The water washing over me was one of my most powerful experiences in media...It felt cleansing in a way I can't explain."
    - Brie Code, CEO/Creative Director, Tru Luv Media
  • "Absolutely beautiful. Haunting and gorgeous."
    - Eli Trier, artist and author
  • "Desolate, tangled, wondrous, wild. I felt like I was hearing the heartbeat of the environment."
    - Lynda Joy, Social Cognition Researcher & Creative Technologist
  • "Amazing, a very transformative tableau of moments with powerful potential."
    - Alina Constantin, co-founder of Tiny Red Camel
  • "Beautiful and dreamlike. The tendrils of the subconscious mind extending/penetrating into the waking mind."
    - Lars M. Nielsen
  • "Very immersive, thought provoking and with a lot of room for interpretation. I believe this kind of artistic installations have an immense potential."
    - Luis Emilio Bruni, associate professor at Aalborg University
 
EXHIBITIONS

Past Events

Creative Coast Festival, May 2017, Sweden
SpilBar 33 at The Danish Film School, February 2017, Denmark
Test sessions at AAU CPH, November 2016, Denmark
Culture Night at the Ministry of Science Innovation and Higher Education, October 2016, Denmark
CopenX, September 2016, Denmark

 
PRESSKIT

For details and high resolution images, you are welcome to download the presskit (.zip file).
If you have an HTC Vive setup and wish to review the piece, a screening version can be provided upon request.
For additional information, please feel free to get in touch via the Contact page at the bottom of this website.

 
 
 

ARTIST
 

Artist Statement

"I began Amaryllis in the early months of 2016 following a particularly harsh winter carrying severance, estrangement and emotional cataclysm in my personal and professional lives. These events demanded pause, redefinition and nursing back to health the will to create, the will to connect, the will to share. It is in my nature to go back to the basics when the abyss calls my name; to ground myself in craft and creation. To give the reins to the part of me that never descended the mountain, never came out from the woods, but ventured instead deeper into the wilderness. At its core, this project is a communion with nature through the use of cutting edge digital technology and I seek to unite the polar opposites of natural and artificial. I explore archetypes, metaphors and rituals around the image of the blood-red flower, which represents the cyclical interdependence between life and death. Because of its personal nature, I embarked on this project alone, learning my tools as I go. Although Amaryllis uses the fundamentally immaterial medium of virtual reality, each choice and each little visual piece starts with traditional art tools. The friction of pencils against paper, the layering of paint, the conversation between musical notes, the voice and its ghosts. In Amaryllis I unite these different formats and force them to breathe side by side in virtual reality. "

- Mariam Zakarian, 2017

 

BIOGRAPHY

Mariam Zakarian descended the rocky mountains of Armenia and made a home of the melancholic cityscape of Copenhagen, Denmark. Self-taught in her crafts, she creates fine art in traditional and digital media, and occasionally lends her eyes and hands to projects ranging from unique tattoo designs to artistic virtual reality experiences. Mariam’s roots are in representational, figurative work. Her paintings and drawings gravitate heavily towards the strange and the surreal as she uses her crafts to explore subject matter relating to the darker shades of existence and the imagination. Besides creating fine art, she has worked over the past decade as a photographer, graphic designer and art director on different cutting- and bleeding edge platforms. She occasionally shares her knowledge, techniques and discoveries at international festivals and conferences, via talks and workshops.
CONTACT
 


Amaryllis VR will be present at select conferences, festivals and galleries.
If you are interested in trying Amaryllis VR,
booking the installation for your event or venue,
or just feel like saying hello,
please use the contact form
or direct your inquiries to the e-mail address below.


amaryllisvr@gmail.com

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