I’ll tell you this much about Paris’ Institut du Monde Arabe: its windows are impressively clean. I can tell you that much because many moons ago I walked into one of the buildings glass walls while on a guided tour. In my defense, the glass really was quite clean—transparent even—and is the measure of a good window not whether someone oblivious dope walks into it?
Is that the standard by which we should judge DOORS, an interactive installation by French creation studio THEORIZ? DOORS does what it says on the tin; it is a virtual reality installation in which you look through a door towards alternate worlds. Try as you might, you cannot actually cross the threshold into these realms.
The doors are generated using a mixture of software, projection mapping, and spatialized sound. Effectively, the system recognizes the perspective of the viewer and is tailored to their perspective. Put otherwise, it works a bit like this gadget from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011):
DOORS, as its name implies, is not something that you can wear, but it is still a work of virtual reality. It simply adapts to its viewer instead of moving with them. Moreover, you don’t actually need to be able to access an alternate realm to experience virtual reality. Teasing counts too, and sometimes it’s more effective.
And make no mistake DOORS is a tease. The closest you can get to alternate worlds is walking into the screen that fills the doorframe, and that’s where reality ceases to be virtual. But the urge to go through doors is nevertheless understandable, even if the unknown lurks on the other side. That’s why doors are so popular in games. They symbolize choice and reckoning with the unknown. So which door do you go through? You can’t traverse DOORS, but one couldn’t blame you for trying.
Find out more about DOORS on its website.