With their VR work Intern Purgatory, Tough Guy Mountain (Iain Soder, Jonathan Carroll, and Cat Bluemke) camouflages a critical inquiry into art, labor, and emerging technology with a VR mindfulness app.
Tough Guy Mountain, Intern Purgatory, 2020 (still). Virtual reality film, duration variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Entering a sterile, corporate space, the user is led through a wellness exercise only to find themselves in an orientation for an unpaid internship. The work resembles, in some ways, the virtual reality genre of office simulation, in which users immerse themselves in detailed digital recreations of mundane environments as a reassuring form of entertainment, but weaves instead a paranoid tale of corporate control and biohacking.
Intern Purgatory was completed with funds from Rhizome’s Mobile VR microgrant and is available for viewing on the First Look: Artists’ VR app, powered by EEVO.