Reality.beta / Chicago Gamespace (US), Photo: Chicago Gamespace


Ars Electronica Garden Chicago: Chicago Gamespace (US)

The simulation hypothesis—that our lived experience is a computer simulation—has gained legitimacy among philosophical circles and the public imagination in recent years. The rapid improvement in the verisimilitude of video game worlds is often cited as part of a trajectory that will result in virtual space indistinguishable from the physical world as we know it. In a period of several decades, games have blossomed from rudimentary two-dimensional vector and pixel-based graphics to polygonal three-dimensional immersive worlds. But what if the architects of our simulated world have been improving the resolution and graphical quality over our history? And what if you could peer back into earlier constructions of the real world? Chicago Gamespace is delighted to exhibit work by Chicago-based new media artist Thorne Brandt. Brandt has created a looking-glass style mobile photobooth titled Reality.beta that “proves” we are living in a computer simulation by sending users’ photos of themselves from earlier version of the simulation when it had worse graphics. After posing for a photo, visitors will view polygonal, crudely texture-mapped images of themselves from the beta version of reality. This project is organized by Chicago Gamespace director and curator Jonathan Kinkley in partnership with the artist.

  • Reality.beta


    Thorne Brandt (US)

    Reality.beta is a looking-glass style mobile photobooth that manipulates sent mobile webcam snapshots, sends them back to the viewer, as well as displays incoming images in a gallery on screen. These looking-glass style apps have a theme of investigating vanity.


Chicago Gamespace is a video game and new media art museum where visitors learn about, play, and are inspired by a collection of the most important video games from history to today. It encompasses a permanent collection, special exhibitions, a library of video game-related magazines and books as well as a shop of video game art prints.