Carla Gannis

wwwunderkammer, 2019-2020

VR experience for HTC Vive

The wwwunderkammer project is inspired by the 16th century wunderkammer, also called cabinets of curiosity. As precursors to museums, the traditional wunderkammer, directly translated as "wonder chamber" often took up entire rooms, that were filled with art, antiques, natural specimens, scientific instruments collected from the far reaches of the globe, and often combining fact with fantasy. I have collected and remixed 3D virtual objects from across the global internet that represent topics of interest: endangered species and the environment; history and politics; networked culture and digital semiotics; decolonization and global pluralism; humor as salve and feminist salvation; obsolete and emerging technologies; and sex and comfort in tech. For over a year I have also trained an AI on these topics and have used the imagery generated to line every cabinet in this vitural wonder chamber. The wwwunderkammer HTC Vive desktop experience was first exhibited in conjunction with a physical installation of the project at Telematic Media Arts (San Francisco, CA), thus the narrative begins in a simulation of the physical Telematic gallery from which you are transported through a "Video Game Cabinet Castle" (a nod to the simulation hypothesis that suggests that reality as we know could be "like a video game") into the main hall that contains 100s of interactable virtual objects. The visitor is then provided with exits into the Matrix or into the Cosmos. Inevitably, no matter what decision they make, they will find themselves free-floating in one until they are ejected into the other. After a minute of complete disembodiment, they arrive back to the simulation of the physical gallery in the evening, joined by replicated avatars of myself. In the wwwunderkammer I am exploring the boundaries between grounded reality and virtual reality, nature and artifice, science and science-fiction in contemporary networked culture and society, while working to build a decolonized, post-human, feminist future.



by Carla Gannis and C.A.R.L.A. G.A.N.

with original music by R. Luke DuBois


Studio Acknowledgements for the wwwunderkammer project:

Janine Kelly (studio manager)

Indira Ardolic (VR/AR design and development)

Noth Liu (VR/AR research and production)

Calvin Lee (VR/AR research and production)

Tess Adams (production assistance)

Zoe Adams (production assistance), artificial intelligence/machine learning platform


Special thanks to Clark Buckner, founder and director of Telematic Gallery for his presentation and support of this project


Roomscale VR




Carla Gannis is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She produces works that consider the uncanny complications of grounded reality and virtual reality, nature and artifice, science and science fiction in contemporary culture. Fascinated by digital semiotics, Gannis takes a horror vacui approach to her artistic practice, culling inspiration from networked communication, art and literary history, emerging technologies and speculative design. Gannis’s work has appeared in exhibitions, screenings and internet projects across the globe. Recent projects include “Portraits in Landscape,” Midnight Moment, Times Square Arts, NY and “Sunrise/Sunset,” Whitney Museum of American Art, Artport. A regular lecturer on art, innovation and society, in March 2019 Gannis was a speaker at the SXSW Interactive Festival on the panel “Human Presence and Humor Make Us Better Storytellers.” Publications who have featured Gannis’s work include The Creators Project, Wired, FastCo, Hyperallergic, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, El PaÍs and The LA Times, among others. In 2015 her speculative fiction was included in DEVOURING THE GREEN:: fear of a human planet: a cyborg / eco poetry anthology, published by Jaded Ibis Press. Gannis holds an MFA in Painting from Boston University. Currently, she is Industry Professor at New York University (NYU) in the Integrated Digital Media Program, Department of Technology, Culture and Society, Tandon School of Engineering.

If you are interested in exhibiting or viewing this artistic VR experience, please send an email to us.