Human Gaze

R. Yagiz Mungan (San Francisco, USA)


Inspired by the observer effect from physics, Human Gaze is a short virtual reality experience about how we affect the Earth. In VR, the audience is presented with observing the Earth in space as the center of attention. However, through the gaze of the audience, the Earth deteriorates over time, transitioning from the green-blue marble to a gray-black piece of space rock.

This friction of basic user experience: the desire to explore the interesting and that action breaking the target creates an actual non-space. You can walk around the Earth, capture quick glances but unfortunately anything more damages it.

Through this interaction, the aim of Human Gaze is to gather attention to our current inability to coexist with the planet that makes our existence possible. Using the accessibility of web as well as the intimacy and immersion of VR Human Gaze is a personal reminder of a possible unfortunate future. All interactions change the nature of the interactors, it is a law of physics, however a relation between humanity and Earth, where Earth does not survive should not be our path.


Human Gaze is a work-in-progress virtual reality experience about the large-scale negative changes in Earth. Created for the Balance-Unbalance 2017, Human Gaze creates a simple VR experience similar to many where, there is an object-of-interest at the center and the user is allowed to explore, investigate and interact with it. However unlike many others, this interaction ends up with damaging the object-of-interest, similar to our relation with Earth.

Physics state that observation changes the outcome and similarly and interaction changes the both sides. However, evident with global warming, images from the Rio Olympics, amount of animals and plants that are approaching the brink of extinction, humanity’s interactions with the Earth took a turn for the worse.

The main interaction in Human Gaze, puts the audience in an uncomfortable non-space. They can walk in the space and look around the earth; however, as they focus on the beautiful white, blue and green marble it will start to damage it but turning it into a dead gray rock. This damage can be undone, albeit more slower by focusing the gaze around.

The experience is being created using the currently work-in-progress WebVR web standard for the desktop high-end VR headsets (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive at the moment), however Human Gaze can also be experienced in a reduced state using regular browsers and mobile devices. Mobile VR is not possible due to limited performance and possibilities of interaction at the moment. By using the web, Human Gaze can easily be shared across channels, reach more people and also be improved over time.

The current state of Human Gaze can be found in at and the experience will be polished and improved however the main idea will stay the same. After conference, Human Gaze will be hosted on a dedicated address.

The installation form requires a walking-VR space (Vive room-scale or Rift multi tracker setup) and can be adjusted to fit into the event. For example, the regular-browser version or physical prints can be available for the people in line. The experience also has sound and music.


Yagiz Mungan is an interdisciplinary developer/artist/scholar working with the concepts of interaction, VR/AR, games, web, mobile, algorithmic generation of audiovisual systems, sound, and interactive music.

His recent works were shown in multiple events in the Silicon Valley including venues like California Academy of Sciences, Gray Area, CODAME, Soundwave Biennale and 3D Web Fest. Living at one of the centers of the technological creation, with his recent works like Urban Intermezzo and Illy: A Primitive Intelligence, he questions the effect of technology in our daily lives through usage of ‘emerging technologies’. Yagiz’s individual and solo works have been shown in Turkey, US, Czech Republic, Germany and Canada.

Yagiz is currently working at AKQA creating interactive experiences. He holds MFA in Electronic and TimeBased Art at Purdue University and MS in computer engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.


Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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