• MOD.'s Take
  • Delve Deeper
  • Fresh Perspectives

If you could plug into a machine that would deliver you endless pleasure, would you do it? It seems that experiencing the things is just as important to us as the pleasure we get from doing them. This was a thought experiment created in the 1970s, but today the rise of VR makes it reality.   

In this gallery we have a group of South Australian artists who provoke this point. Come in, plug in, and see for yourself. 


What sort of experiences are we talking? 

NaturePod™ by Situation Lab (Stuart Candy, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson, Nourhan Hegazy, Jennifer McDougall, Prateeksha Singh)

What if you could experience all the benefits of being in nature from the comfort of your home or office? Nature Pod was created as a piece of speculative design. They expected people to be uncomfortable, but most people loved this idea. What do you think?

Reward Booths by Joshua Bernardi and Kale Phillipson, with build by Studio 1 Exhibitions 

These three booths were designed to provide psychological reward as pleasure. Enter the booths one at a time and experience social, tribal, and accomplishment rewards. 

Magic Mountain by Jess Taylor 

Fleshy plains stretch beneath a soft, pink sky. Bent legs, hair sprawled, a breast points towards the heaven: this is yours to explore. Magic Mountain explores the reality of virtual environments. Here, pleasure is political. Whose bodies do we access for pleasure? How do we access them?  

Scene Thru by Orlando Mee 

What if the walls shimmered with patterns and colour? In a virtual world, does anything substantial exist? In order to critique the immersive visuals of virtual reality, is it necessary to break them? Scene Thru brings the visitor to a hyper-colour world where everything falls apart in front of you.   

QueerZone by Danny Jarratt 

Who is designing technology, and who are they catering for? Mr Pacman has a thick moustache and pink leather boots, all he wants is to find his true love: Pacman. Enter the huge pink fluorescent cube and play the game.   

It’s my pleasure by Owen Churches, Hannah Keage, and Simone De Dyne, with design by Rosina Possingham and Lightbulb Digital 

When we look for a film to watch on Netflix or a playlist on Spotify, we are not presented with an open list of all the films and songs available. Instead, we see a curated set of recommendations. These recommendations are an algorithm called the recommendation engine. These systems combine our previous choices with the choices of people like us, to create a shortcut to our own personal pleasure. What is the impact of this? Are we missing out, or is hyper-personalisation the way to go? 

Explore the recommendation engine here.

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We worked with a group of young people to review Pleasure Arcade 5000. Here’s what they had to say…

It reminded me of when I had Netflix and it was really good at suggesting things. But then I made a new account all the recommendations sucked.
— Miranda

It’s cool that the Reward Booth content doesn’t autoplay. I liked that I had to press the button to want more. It’s like ‘yeah, I freed those little guys! That was all me!’ even though I did basically nothing. — Nick

In the first Reward Booth had all the compliments that made me happy. For the first two or three it made me feel happy. But later on I kind of felt bored because if you are appreciated too much for things you haven’t done, it means nothing. — Denish

Mr PacMan made me miss my childhood. It was nice. — Jacqueline

It’s interesting to know how little information [recommendation algorithms] need from you to make a prediction. — Jordan