From Abstract Drawings to Virtual Experiences

Interactive VR Experience

Year : 2021
Development Platform: Unreal
Modeling/Animation: Blender, Rhino
Platform: VR
Controller: Oculus quest controller, Vive controller
Genre: Single-player puzzle
Setting: 3D abstract world
Visual: First person 3D
Target Length: 15 mins
Influencer Games: Inside, Limbo
Tone: Mysterious / Sublime / Heart-warming
Audience: People who like abstract graphics, into puzzle-solving

What is Miholand?

Miholand is a VR experience that entices players on a first-person, linear Journey from a realistic world through a fading reality in a surrealistic space to a wholly abstract, unreal, and unknown land, unlocking along the way a series of navigational puzzles inspired by Abstract Paintings.

Lost in Transparency

Tunnel to the Unknown

The Experience

You are invited to an unknown territory, lost in an unfamiliar and abstract environment, you don't know who you are, and your body disappeared into the invisible. There is only one direction in front. You will need to find some clues to unlock the way forward, but after reaching a small house across the bridges between the mountains and rivers, you find out that this might not be the final destination. Where should you go at this point? Wandering between mountains and rivers or continuing to embark on an unknown journey, the choice is ultimately yours.

Turnning Abstract Drawing into Virtual Space

Milholand explores the transition in art and spirit in abstraction, focusing on designing abstract virtual environments.
The experience has four chapters, Chapter 1- Lost in Transparency, Chapter 2 - Home, Chapter 3- The Tunnel, and Chapter 4- Enter Suprematism, each expands from an ︎abstract drawing︎ that I did in 2020.


Snapshot of the Experience

The Drawings

Behind the Scene

During this project, I investigated the ways of turning abstract drawings into interactive virtual environments.

Background Story

I have always been fascinated by abstract drawing and surrealist drawings. I still remember seeing Malevich's painting. Although they are represented in a flat medium, to me, they have tremendous powers that draw me into thinking, wandering, and left me in awe.

Later, The work of Zaha Hadid (who was influenced by Malevich), Daniel Libeskind also gave me many inspirations. These works were so precious. I could stop but thinking how great if I could get inside these drawings and experience what the painter's minds were thinking. Can I bring these pieces to a medium that people can actually explore and experience?

But the question was, Can I get really inside these drawings if I don't quite understand them?

For me, The answer was no. I have to admit that I don't quite understand these drawings despite being very into them. I wasn't there when they were created, I can't talk to the artists. Even if I speak to them, I still think I could not get the essence of it. Abstract art for an artist is a very personal journey. Perhaps the only abstract work I could genuinely understand is my selves. I had to create in order to understand.

After these 100 Days, I came back to the initial thought that I had in mind...What if, I can bring these pieces to life? I took four drawings and turned them into this VR experience to see what kind of story, interactions, and space could be generated from these starting points.

And this was how MIHOLAND came into being.

Why is it called MIHOLAND?

The stucture of the experience is inspired by my trip to Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan in 2019. Mihoko Koyama, the founder of the museum believes that beauty can heal people’s hearts and that also inpsired me to create this VR piece.

Special Thanks 
To the people who had generously helped me and Influenced the project

Jonathan Turner
Kathleen Wilson
Katherine Dillon
Temitope Olujobi
Mom and Dad

Fanyi Pan 2020 - Brooklyn, New York

︎ fp920@nyu.edu

︎ Fanyi Pan