The question of what is ‘real’ has been much discussed throughout history and the authenticity of reality needs renewed attention. The rise of virtual, augmented, and digital realities makes the question “What is reality?” more urgent. There is curiosity and interest in an alternative reality; an existence beyond physical bodies linked to an alternate state of mind. A moment where we can break with existing belief and knowledge systems. The meaning of reality has been determined by our known Western knowledge systems. But what if we include knowledge systems such as magic, cult or native belief systems? This forms the core of Sacred Hill, a multi-sensory installation including a virtual reality experience and performance. The projects explore, together with their audience, new forms of existence and alternate states of body and mind in a virtual space.
The project researches methods known from myths, cults, natural drugs and tarot to create a virtual space, bypassing the laws of physics, where human bodies (and senses) are allowed to explore correlations between space, body, perception and alternate ways of communication. The spatial installation is taking place on the blurry lines of the virtual and physical which is filled with a scent supporting this alienating experience. It uses hints of known fragrances from rituals and belief systems, mixed with some earthly elements and a new designed, artificial fragrance. The second level in this world is a personal tarot reading but with a twist: a futuristic-looking costumed priestess draws you a card and spreads a special scent, to help you arrive at an alternate state of mind. The last scene takes you gradually further into the digital reality, as you leave your physical body behind and enter the virtual ritual.