The Tangle of Mind and Matter, 2017

VR experience for HTC Vive 

The mysterious relationship between the mind and the brain, an unsolved conundrum pondered by philosophers and neuroscientists alike, formed the inspiration for this work. While the brain is part of the body, with physical, tangible properties, the mind is ephemeral. And whether the mind and brain are one in the same or different entities is still unknown. Some even propose that the physical world we inhabit, our reality, is just an illusion of the mind. In this interactive virtual reality work The Tangle of Mind and Matter, we search the brain to reveal the mind. The mind takes on a human form and activates the conscious brain, encouraging the viewer to participate in the process. Though virtual, there is an intriguing, tactile sense to this search as one grabs, removes and observes individual brain parts derived from MRI scans of an actual brain. And while our body stays grounded to the earth, the mind continues to explore beyond our horizon, leaving us to believe that there are other realities somewhere out there. Continuing my interest in developing an aesthetic unique to the medium of VR, some components in the work are generative and will subtly change with each experience – brain colors shift, tree shapes transform, the “mind” follows different paths and viewer interaction creates variations in audio and animation.


Special Thanks to UCLA Brain Mapping Center

Duration: 4 min.

Images © Rebecca Allen




Rebecca Allen is an internationally recognized artist inspired by the aesthetics of motion, the study of perception and behavior and the potential of advanced technology. Her artwork, which spans four decades and takes the form of experimental video, large-scale performances, live simulations and virtual and augmented reality art installations, explores issues of gender, identity and what it means to be human as technology redefines our sense of reality. With degrees from Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rebecca moves fluidly between artist studio and research lab, using her research to inform her art. Her work has been shown globally in over 250 exhibitions and is part of the permanent collection of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York. Recent exhibitions include: You Feel Me_, FACT Gallery, Liverpool, UK. 2019-2020; 360: Rebecca Allen, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2019; Sync(Emerge(Consciousness)), QUAD Gallery, Derby, UK, 2018-19; Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965–2018 (Fin de Siècle II collaboration with Nam June Paik), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2018-19; and Kraftwerk - 3D (includes video projections of Allen’s work from 1986), performed throughout the world, 2011-ongoing.

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