Leo Castaneda

Item Showrooms, 2016-17

VR experience for HTC Vive or Oculus Rift

Items Showrooms is primarily a display of semi-functional sculptures used for viewing virtual reality environments. The VR environment's name borrows from the vocabulary of video games, where the word 'item' describes objects of value, tools or even characters with artificial intelligence. In video games, collections of items are assembled in various manners: from menus to showrooms reminiscent of furniture stores.

In the virtual space, figures merge into machines, furniture, and body extensions in order to enter their own virtual spaces. The distinction between human and object is blurred by both the figures' lack of interaction with their external environment, as well as the ubiquitous unifying monochromatic textures pulled from Castaneda's paintings, photos and drawings. Personal photos from a trip to the Amazon sit next to appropriated images from diverse sources on the internet and screen grabs of instances in the creation of artworks, various origins and histories blend together as they become abstract textures and patterns. The resulting aesthetic reads modernist alien sci-fi mixed with a gray-scale psychedelia. It is a space somewhere between the past, present and speculative future that merges interior design with video game arcades, while also inevitably highlighting the design of the exhibition itself, as it is usually displayed with physical prototypes of the sculptural machines.




Leo Castaneda (b. Cali, Colombia, 1988) is an artist working in the intersection of virtual reality, gaming, performance and interactive sculpture. Castaneda's work deploys and deconstructs the socio-economic, racial, mythological and post human anatomies embedded in the structure of video games. Castaneda received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2010, and in 2014 received his MFA at Hunter College. Residencies include SOMA Summer in Mexico City attended through the Cisneros Foundation (2014), "Of Games III" at Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi India (2015), and the Bronx Museum AIM program (2017). He has also attended a semester abroad in Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, and studied at New World School of the Arts in Miami.

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