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,
is exhibited internationally since its Danish premiere in August 2017.


 
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 several surreal worlds inspired by concepts related to what makes humans different from sophisticated machines: spirituality, mortality, the subconscious and complex emotions. The piece explores how immaterial, virtual art can become profoundly physically and emotionally affecting.
Amaryllis was named after 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 in several other media: analog art rituals and performances, which prepare visitors for the transition to VR, various traditional paintings and drawings on paper and canvas, as well as music specifically composed for each virtual world.
 
 
 
 

OCEAN
The first VR chapter of Amaryllis is “Ocean” – a piece about cleansing and an entry point to the digital world. It swells and swallows the visitor continually, bathing them in blood-red waves. “Ocean” was inspired by the river Lethe from Dante’s Divine Comedy, which welcomes those who leave 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.
Before entering “Ocean”, guests are recommended to participate in the analog art ritual “Tea with Amaryllis”, which may amplify the experience.
Acrylic and oil paintings, and color pencil drawings for “Ocean” are exhibited alongside the VR piece at select venues and events. These are available for purchase

Click on the images to play animated screen captures from the VR piece "Ocean".
 
 
 
 
ART RITUALS
 
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 I

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

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

EXHIBITIONS


Creative Coast Festival, May 2018, Karlshamn, SE
Universe Science Park, May 2018, Nordborg, DK
Internet Week Denmark:The Danish VR Scene, May 2018, Aarhus, DK
A MAZE Festival, April 2018, Berlin, DE
Art Basel (Private VIP event in collaboration with MOR and HTC), March 2018, Hong Kong, CHN
Game Developers Conference (in collaboration with MOR and Valve), March 2018, San Francisco, USA
"Virtually Ourselves" at the University of Copenhagen, January 2018, Copenhagen, DK
Premiere of Amaryllis VR : Ocean at Galleri Oxholm, August 2017, Copenhagen, DK
Creative Coast Festival, May 2017, Karlshamn, SE
SpilBar 33 at The Danish Film School, February 2017, Copenhagen, DK
Test sessions at AAU CPH, November 2016, Copenhagen, DK
Culture Night at the Ministry of Science Innovation and Higher Education, October 2016, Copenhagen, DK
CopenX, September 2016, Copenhagen, DK

 
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 chosen tools and technology as I go, and I create all elements of all pieces myself, without involving any external production teams or persons. 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 is an Armenian virtual reality artist based in Denmark. She is the creator of one of the first Danish VR artworks, and has worked with the medium since 2014. Her art pieces have been exhibited at major tech and fine art events on 3 continents, among which are Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and Art Basel Hong Kong.
Mariam creates her VR art pieces solo from start to finish -a process involving 3D modeling, animation and music composition. She holds an M.Sc. in Media Technology, specializing in VR art, and she occasionally shares her knowledge, techniques and discoveries at international festivals and conferences, via talks and workshops, discussing the relationships between the human experience of art, artmaking and the artificial.
CONTACT
 


Amaryllis VR is exhibited 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 direct your inquiries to the e-mail address below.


amaryllisvr@gmail.com

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