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New VR Artwork at CMOA

Contact: Jonathan Gaugler | | 412.216.7909

Styles and Customs of the 2020s
Virtual Reality Artwork by Scatter x DIS opens March 16


Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) announces the launch of Styles and Customs of the 2020s, a virtual reality (VR) artwork at the museum collaboratively created by artist studios Scatter and DIS. Visitors will use a fully immersive headset to view the work.

Debuting March 16 in CMOA’s Hall of Architecture, the VR experience takes users from a primeval cave setting, where wall paintings are animated by flickering firelight, to uncanny scenes in the not-too-distant future. Styles and Customs of the 2020s presents a digital dystopia inflected by rapid climate change, social unrest, and shifting global economics. The work was commissioned by the Hillman Photography Initiative, based on the prompt: How do new photographic technologies shape the virtual realm?

CMOA's Hall of Architecture

CMOA’s Hall of Architecture

In response to that prompt, DIS produced a creative brief titled Styles and Customs of the 2020s, inspired by a collaboratively generated text published in June 2015. Through a series of imagined futures, the brief “predict[s] the dissolution of our origins and our humanness, and like science fiction, tell[s] more about the present than the future.” The capabilities of cutting-edge VR parallel the oldest art form: the cave painting, animated into motion by the firelight. Slowly, the cave begins to dissolve, revealing one of four scenes, ranging from isolation bubbles of sensory-canceling technology to space-steading billionaires to killer drones clad in artisanal Tuscan leather. Over the course of three to four minutes, viewers move forward in time as the light from the cave collides with that of the futuristic scene before you.

Scatter and four artists—Kim Laughton, Rachel Rossin, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, and Alan Warburton—interpreted excerpts from DIS’ creative brief to produce four VR scenarios adapted from DIS’ imagined scenes from the 2020s, with accompanying narration by Adrian Massey. Visitors may encounter entirely different experiences, fostering conversation about how these vignettes relate. Scatter notes that today photography is “in the process of disintegration… the photograph itself can no longer be trusted to do the things it used to do—to encapsulate, to represent, to essentialize.” Instead, they embrace an entirely new toolkit of photographic technologies, including spatial photography, spherical photography, photogrammetry, and image-based modeling. CMOA’s Hall of Architecture plays a crucial role in this experience as well. As a massive space filled with colossal plaster casts of building facades and fragments, it too plays on the theatrical reproduction of reality in three dimensions. Its expansive size contrasts sharply with the relative isolation of VR.


Styles and Customs of the 2020s is a project of LIGHTIME, a year of programming from CMOA’s Hillman Photography Initiative. At its essence—and since its beginnings—photography measures light and time. The four artist projects unfolding in 2017 expand upon and perhaps explode this notion, using it as a springboard to investigate contemporary social issues.

Styles and Customs of the 2020s is a Scatter X DIS collaboration based on DIS, Styles and Customs of the 2020s. Collaborating artists: Kim Laughton, Rachel Rossin, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, and Alan Warburton.  Writing by Tyler Coburn, Nick DeMarco, Khalid Al Garaballi, Tue Greenfort, Julia Moritz, Victoria Ivanova, Marvin Jordan, Jane Long, Toke Lykkeberg, Chus Martinez, Shawn Maximo, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Timur Si­-Qin, David Andrew Tasman, Agatha Wara, and Andrew Norman Wilson. Virtual Reality Director: Alexander Porter. Lead Producer: Mei-Ling Wong. Technical Director / Lead Developer: Elliott Mitchell. 3D Assistant: Jillian Morrow. Associate Producer: Anna Henson.

Styles and Customs of the 2020s is supported by the Hillman Photography Initiative at Carnegie Museum of Art. Support for the Hillman Photography Initiative is provided by the William T. Hillman Foundation and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.


General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art enriches people’s lives through art. The museum is committed to global engagement and regional advancement. We champion creativity and its importance to society with experiences that welcome, inspire, challenge, and inform. Our core activities—collecting, conserving, presenting, and interpreting works of art—make those experiences possible. Our world-class collection of over 30,000 works emphasizes art, architecture, photography, and design from the 19th century to the present. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Learn more: call 412.622.3131 or visit

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