Artist / Producer
Having previously worked as an Immersive Event Producer and Audio-Visual artist, Adam Malone’s interest in immersive storytelling was inspired by his academic study of the Tarot. His dissertation for the MA in Myth, Cosmology, and the Sacred was entitled ‘The Art of Transforming The World: Tarot and the Future of Immersive Experience’. The Tarot Experience was his hypothesis for the future of narrative creation in the immersive arts, and is now the title of a VR piece developed for the Oculus Quest 2 via his start-up company Astrolabe Immersive. Their focus is on bringing deeply meaningful experiences into VR and beyond.
Adam Malone (2022) The Tarot Experience VR [VR]
I will present my virtual reality experience called The Tarot Experience VR. This piece was created as both part of my MA in Immersive Storytelling at Royal Holloway in 2021, and the first development piece of my startup company called Astrolabe Immersive based in East Sussex. The piece was inspired by my previous work as both an Immersive Event Producer as well as a scholar of the Tarot. My previous MA was in Myth, Cosmology and The Sacred for which I wrote a dissertation (to be self-published as a book) entitled ‘The Art of Transforming The World: Tarot and the Future of Immersive Experience’. My hypothesis in this paper was an attempt to solve the problem in the immersive arts of creating meaningful narrative experiences that change and adapt to each person as they encounter an immersive art experience. My work as a Tarot reader gave me the foundation to propose that the Tarot, in both form and function, can inspire new and meaningful narrative experiences for both audiences and creators of immersive experiences into the future. This represents a paradigm shift in narrative creation in the arts. The Tarot Experience VR is a second player VR experience that asks the user to bring themselves into the experience.
I propose that the form and function of the Tarot card system is able to offer a solution to the current problem in the immersive arts sector, of creating deeply meaningful art experiences that are able to change and adapt to each user. Tarot’s form – a selection of images with over 250 years of multi-authored knowledge attributed to them, and function – the truly random moment of the shuffle, are for me key ingredients to understand for bringing meaning into narrative art experiences. I have chosen to focus on the 22 major arcana for this piece and have created my own deck for this purpose. As we enter a true era of Art as Experience, as argued for by John Dewey in 1934, it is my hope that the emergent technology of Virtual Reality can be used to touch us on a deep level, to offer us potentially transcendent experiences. In fact, it is vital that this is the aim for use of this very powerful technology. There is a huge risk that we may fall into ever-increasing illusory worlds. It is therefore important that we engage these technologies in the pursuit of deeper meaning and self-reflection.