Skip to content

Dr Frederick Baker – Pioneer of Immersive Reality

Dr Frederick Baker gave me the nicest call one day, asking what the process was to submit an entry. He was in an airport, about to fly somewhere else, and he had the time to write out an entry. It was a fab chat.
Now, as a filmmaker living between Vienna, and working as a College Research Associate at Wolfson College Cambridge, he created a VR experience called Klimt’s Magic Garden, a virtual exhibition experiment to mark the 100th anniversary of Gustav Klimt’s death (6 February 2018). In the experience, Klimt’s work is merged with a landscape inspired by his regular visits to the Attersee, to create an immersive virtual setting which visitors can explore using an HTC virtual reality headset.
Pretty damn neat.
Below, Frederick talks about his thoughts on the experience, and it scratches me in all the right ways:

“I am now of the opinion that were he alive today, Klimt would have loved the space afforded by Virtual Reality. This is not surprising, since time and again he composed works for specific spaces: the Burgtheater, the Aula of the University of Vienna and now with this work the Villa Stoclet that was designed by his colleague Josef Hoffmann in Bruxelles. Klimt would have responded to the unlimited space offered to the imagination by the digital. As his great work the Beethoven Frieze shows, both his story telling and his visual imagination was so spatially expansive that it could not be bound within the traditional picture frame.
“As the cartoon for the mural of Expectation and Fulfillment shows, Klimt’s understanding of colour, texture, line and abstraction contains such aesthetic strength that it lends itself to transformation. In the Palais Stoclet his ideas became stone pigment and plaster, in my Magic Garden, the elements of his work become figures, icons and textures for a completely new digital landscape.”