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A Guy Dances With Google’s VR Paintbrush and It’s Surprisingly Emotional

The Google Tilt Brush can be like art on acid.

It turns out the only thing that would've made Radiohead's music video for the song "Lotus Flower" better—which features a creepy, gyrating Thom Yorke acting like he just smoked meth—would be if Yorke had digital paint brushes in his hands so he could paint swirls of color with his twitching hands.

An artist by the name of Danny Bittman did just that, by donning an HTC Vive Virtual Reality (VR) headset and dancing, Yorke-style, with Google's Tilt Brush 3D painting tool. Using mixed reality filming techniques, he filmed himself virtually painting and dancing in a performance art piece uploaded to Vimeo and titled "Scribbler."


In his video, Bittman dances around with wildly waving hands and creating swirls of colored lines—all of different textures. Interspersed between these interesting artistic moments, however, are awkward periods when the colors are removed from the screen, revealing just a skinny dude in a white undershirt and a headset twirling around in front of his couch—a raccoon statue on the couch's end table his sole audience member. Perhaps that's the point though—to show the difference between the VR world and the real, drab one.

Tilt Brush is a painting tool currently available via Steam on the HTC Vive VR headset. The concept is simple: With the two Vive controllers in your hands acting as paintbrushes, you can paint and illustrate in three dimensional space, using "your room as your canvas," according to the Tilt Brush website. Not only can you design room-scale art pieces that a person can walk around, but by painting in three dimensions, it's also possible to bypass many of the scale translation problems that artists deal with when painting or sculpting.

Pittman is a filmmaker-turned-virtual-reality-artist based in Chicago and has created all sorts of colorful, futuristic or otherworldly landscape scenes with Tilt Brush—snow falling on a crashed spaceship, a human made of string falling through a spiraling vortex. But he's now added performance art to his portfolio with the dance painting video "Scribbler."

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