Talbot Rice Gallery

Jess Johnson: Eclectrc Panoptic

29 July – 8 October 2016

Eclectrc Panoptic teased back layers of cognition, reflecting New Zealand born artist Johnson’s interest in science fiction, alternative universes and the slippery nature of perception and reality.

Comprised of a suite of drawings, tessellating patterns and virtual reality technology, the exhibition became a bridging portal into another realm. The installation took its genesis from the psychomagic group rituals conceived by the visionary filmmaker and comic book writer Alejandro Jodorowsky; and the technological themes of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel ‘Dune’. Concealed within the space was ‘Ixian Gate’, a virtual reality artwork that can only be experienced through an Oculus Rift headset, plunging participants into the dystopic world of her drawings. 


My reality is different to your reality. We’re taught to think of reality as a fixed and absolute thing; like concrete or bedrock. I think of it as flowing lava, moving under the surface of time. Reality can be different speeds and densities. It can be multidimensional. It can be harnessed and brought into existence by words and symbols. The human brain can conceive of something that did not exist before and then go out and make it. You can make something out of nothing and alter the universe around you. By anyone’s definition that’s magic.

Jess Johnson


Jess Johnson's website



Jess Johnson: Eclectrc Panoptic. Photography: Chris Park.
Jess Johnson: Eclectrc Panoptic. Photography: Chris Park.




Ixian Gate Stills: Ixian Gate (Still), 2015 Jess Johnson & Simon Ward Virtual Reality animation with audio, 5:35