“A Ballad of Historical Dependency” by Dolinsky

  • ©Margaret Dolinsky


Entry Number: 34


    A Ballad of Historical Dependency


Project Affiliation:

    Indiana University Bloomington


    “Cabinet of Dreams” is a 3D virtual reality (VR) showcasing highlights of the Chinese art collection from the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). Objects were recreated as 3D computer graphics and studied in inspiration towards developing virtual environments for their display. The objects range in date from 1000 BC to the mid-1800s and include wood, bronze, and earthenware ceremonial pieces as well as household items. Among them are an inkstone with mountains and a dragon, a brushpot with scenes of country pursuits, a ritual cooking vessel, a model of a wellhead, soul urns, pillows and figures including a boy with a dog.

    One of the objects is a Qing dynasty cabinet made of cloisonné, glass, and zitan wood that was a gift of Mrs. George Phillip Meier. The cabinet is the metaphoric center of the installation, reflected in the art and the display device as if it were a modern day Wunderkabinett. By combining the actual cabinet with the virtual dreams inspired by the real objects, computer graphic environments represent a structure of times past as well as a sense of virtual space. The real cabinet stands outside of the gallery space near the upcoming Asian galleries. Its presence hints at the collection of rarities that are hidden within the virtual environment and the museum itself.


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