A downloadable digital sculpture for Android

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This is a Cardboard VR project that takes place in near-darkness. This experience focuses on the rods of your eyes, the part near the periphery that senses amorphous shapes in darkness, rather than the cones which discern bright colors in the center of the retina. When you put on the headset it will appear entirely black. After a few minutes you'll begin to discern the environment. It's inspired by the James Turrell installation Pleiades.


There won't be any in-game instructions on the prototype, so please read these before playing.

  1. This has been calibrated for Samsung S5 at maximum brightness. So no matter which phone you're using, set to maximum brightness and turn off auto brightness.
  2. Turn on airplane mode— those popup notifications will kill your eyes!
  3. Turn your lights out, start up the app, put on the Cardboard.
  4. If there is even a little light in the room, put a blanket over your head. This needs to be pitch dark.
  5. There should be one very dim red square that is immediately visible. If anything else is visible right away as you turn your head, your phone is too bright. If nothing is visible at all, wait a few moments and look around. If still nothing, your phone is too dim, even at its highest setting... let me know!
  6. Once you've seen the red square, turn away from it about 90 degrees in either direction. It shouldn't matter so much where you look, I've put things all around you. You shouldn't see anything at first, but wait about five minutes for things to appear.
  7. Don't worry... I swear to god there are no jump scares :)
  8. Once you start seeing things, look around.
  9. When you've thoroughly explored this environment, look up at the shape above you. This will darken the room and change what's in it. Your eyes may have to adjust a little again.
  10. This darker room is the final one, so when you feel like you've finished looking around, the app is done.

The inspiration, Pleiades, is an installation at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh where you walk into a seemingly pitch dark room down a narrow corridor. It's even darker than this VR experiment, as it takes at least 15 minutes before your eyes begin to see anything. Eventually, you begin to see what looks like a beautiful, unreal fog assuming an indistinct shape below you and about 6 feet away. It's a meditative exercise where you begin to become more acutely aware of your experience of vision.

I've visited a couple of times, and at least once noticed people immediately turning on their cell phone flashlights as they entered into the space, potentially ruining the experience for anyone who had been spending 15-30 minutes allowing their eyes to adjust. I thought it would be interesting to create a similar experience using the technology that is ruining the original version.

This project is not an exact reproduction. It contains multiple moving objects. It also has a gradation in darkness, with brighter objects leading to darker objects for the sake of calibration. There's more potential for an app to simply not work, so this acts as verification that you're not staring at nothing.

This is a brief prototype to see if there's anything more I'd like to explore, so I welcome any feedback. Made for CARDBOARD JAM.

No audio at the moment.


2/29/16 recompiled with newer version of Unity after hearing that it was crashing on Samsung Galaxy s6.


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Warm Slabs.apk 20 MB

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