NOT YOUR MOTHER’S ART HISTORY: HOWVIRTUAL REALITY TRANSFORMED MY LIFE AND CAREER
Sophia Gebara considers herself a small town girl atop the precipice of traditional art historical thought, ready to dive towards a galvaniza - tion and electrification of the art world.
by Sophia Gebara
The Questions and Doubts
“entrepreneurship” in the art world, and found myself uncovering a really interesting hybrid form of art and technology. My final research project, “Art, Science, and Technology” turned heads dur- ing a poster presentation session, especially the heads of students and professors in STEM. During this research I became specifically intrigued by artists working in virtual reality. I was fascinated and couldn’t stop learning! Virtual reality (VR) artworks, artists, and this type of technology has changed the way we think about the meaning of art, and in turn, the history of art. Virtual reality is a medium that is cutting-edge and novel, creating fully immersive experiences for diverse audienc- es. Able to fabricate endless opportunities of hy- per-realistic scenes, virtual reality provides a spe- cific kind of space for self-reflection and empathy that no other medium can match. VR can take the viewer to the night of the shooting of Trayvon Mar- tin, next to families trying to survive the genocide in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, or even alongside NASA scientists atop a sheet of ice in Greenland measuring the rising sea levels.
ently taking Spanish classes during my first year, which provided me with a certain sense of stability- I knew for a fact that I wanted to learn this language. How- ever, I still felt as though there was something missing.
ment centered around mutual success and support, which is unusual. The opportunities provided to me at this time in my life, set the foundation for the wom- an I have become. *Blink* and before I knew it, it was the first day of college, freshman year, first period- Biology 101. Why biology you ask? Well, I was an undeclared biology major of course!-- aren’t we all Biology majors at some point or another? I found myself struggling, and miserable. While everyone was having their beaming “light-bulb moments” --I was convinced my lightbulb had burned out. And so, Sophia was in a classic first-year panic be - cause the foreseeable future was looking optionless and bleak. I talked with advisors, parents, students and colleagues about potential career paths. I dab- bled in economic classes, math classes, different sci - ence classes, and still felt as though there was a miss- ing track on my railroad to the future. I began to doubt that I even had a passion for anything. I was consist-
As a highschooler, I didn’t have a passion for much of anything. I dragged myself along math classes, science and English classes, never re - ally feeling excited. I knew that I was a more successful visual learner, but ended up feeling as though all high school was about, was short term memorization- cramming as much informa- tion into your brain to then pour it all out during a test or exam. It was not as much about what I knew and why it was important, than how much I knew and how fast I could write it all down. Do I remember all of the information I was tested on in high school?… that would be a hard No. Then my life changed. I transferred from a public school to a private high school (where I board- ed) during my Junior and Senior years. There, I began to cultivate value in learning and how it can spark something inside you that changes the way you think. My peers strived to become versed academics, and at the same time, encour- aged others to do the same. It was an environ-
Then Everything Changed
Then everything changed. I took an art history class on a whim. The art was beautiful, concepts provocative, and environment… perfect. The class engaged with contextual histories, our current political climate, and related to our own personal experiences. Before you knew it, I was a devout student in the history of art, attending every guest or artist lecture, open studio, or collaborative workshop that I could get my hands on. I took classes which examined visual culture, race, and gender, classes that analyzed Latin American and Car- ibbean works, and classes that grappled with defining the concept of a museum, amongst many, many other critically engaging courses.
During the summer of my junior year, I helped a pro- fessor research practices of “design-thinking” and
Arts & Humanities
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