VR/AR pioneer Tamiko Thiel (b. 1957, USA), in her work Land of Cloud takes the viewer on a journey beyond space and time. That is where the Land of Cloud can be found.
The Land of Cloud is a magnificent garden whose inhabitants are silent and communicate with each other only through splendid, yet strange, cloud mirrors. They are in constant contact with their deity: ‘The Cloud’. They do not look at you. They do not look at anything but their devices, standing motionless. Each of them susurrates and repeats their own mantra, given by the Cloud Deity. This is what the viewer hears as she stands next to them. The mantras are taken from the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump 2016 US election campaign, when it seemed to Thiel that national and personal dialogs with others had ceased and each focused only on their own small media bubble.
Tamiko Thiel explores the interplay of place, space, the body and cultural identity, utilizing augmented and virtual reality as her platform. Thiel was the lead product designer of ‘Connection Machine’: the world’s fastest computer in 1989 and now part of MoMA’s (NYC) collection. Her VR art installation ‘Beyond Manzanar’ (2000) is part of the collection of the San Jose Museum of Art. Thiel’s first augmented reality artwork ‘ARt Critic Face Matrix’ was part of the 2010 path-breaking AR intervention at MoMA, and her ‘Shades of Absence’ was in the 2011 AR intervention at Venice Biennial. The Whitney Museum (NYC) commissioned Thiel’s AR work ‘Unexpected Growth’, where it is now in the permanent collection. Thiel is the winner of the SAT Montreal’s 2018 Visionary Pioneer Award.