Rachel M. Ward

THE WEIRD 80's world




The Weird 80’s World of Dianne Blell





non-fiction VR, immersive documentary, surrealistic worlds, interactive virtual painting, optical illusions, realms of consciousness 





  1. To enter the mind of Dianne Blell as a photographer/model/socialite in 1980’s NYC by virtually entering her surrealistic photographs, mind and parties 

  2. Questioning the nature of reality in memory 

  3. Creating immersive and non-linear documentary forms that transcend the limits of “reality” (i.e., the mind, consciousness, emotions, memories, creative expression)

  4. Telling a non-fiction story by using artistic and immersive VR





This virtual reality experience combines elements of non-fiction 360-video, CGI, interactive content and utilizes gameplay functionality. The user enters a strange, exotic world of the ultra-glamorous in 1980’s New York through the eyes of one artist, model and socialite, Dianne Blell. 


Dianne began her jet-setting career as a flight attendant for Pan Am airlines in the 1970’s. She tells a story being at a party in San Tropez, accidentally ingesting tranquilizers and then having hazy memories of being helped onto a yacht with Mick Jagger. 


A couple years later, in San Francisco, she meets a married aristocrat-architect. [Flash forward] He is divorced and Dianne is living with him in a mansion in San Francisco [archival photos here]. She throws glamorous dinner parties for other swinger-aristocrats, and recounts one experience where she dressed in lingerie-costumes to match each dish she was serving. For example, to serve the plum dessert dish, she wore a costume of purple pasties and a puffy hat. 


Her and her husband began having issues due to a deluge of extramarital affairs. She recounts one time where she found her (female) friend’s Rolex watch in their home. She sought revenge by driving her car through the lobby of his prestigious architectural firm. It was easter so, logically, she scrawled in huge letters on the windshield, “HAPPY EASTER YOU BAD EGG!” His employees had to file single file around the car in order get to their offices. 


She began to grow bored with marriage and its concomitant headaches [a cartoonist for the New York times parodied her and her new lifestyle in NYC; include this as archival image here]. She told her husband that she wanted to pursue life as an artist in NYC. He purchased a loft for her (which she still owns in the financial district [include 360-video of the space here]. 


She was quickly inculcated into the 1970’s avant-garde art scene of New York. She recounts anecdotes of being with Andy Warhol at parties. She had (what seems like hundreds) of affairs with famous men and artists. 


Dianne was not only a fixture in the high class and avant-garde but she excelled in her own photography work and her overarching career-spacing goal of “questioning the nature of the real in the photograph.” She achieved this initially by manually manipulating her photo sets (i.e. placing one glass rose in a bouquet of real roses) (1970’s). She then transitioned into building elaborate surrealistic sets (1980’s), using early scanning technology to manipulate photos (1989), and finally using Photoshop to create non-real circumstances within her photos (1990’s). 


As model, photographer, set designer


- Non-linear documentary using gameplay and personal narratives 

- Interactive features such as Tilt Brush (painting sets with Dianne)




- Immersive interactive documentary (no narrator or text)

- Game functionality  

- (Ironic) comment on “VR Porn”

- SIMS-like

- Experimental non-linear biography




- 360 video

- Archival images 

- Interview audio

- Unity to recreate surrealistic sets 

- Vive and controllers to paint the sets (e.g. Google Tiltbrush) 




- Enter the photo

- Experience as a photographer in the 70s

- Her narratives and anecdotes (interview audio)

- Tricking the eye in VR

- Optical illusions in VR

- Controller interaction (e.g. Google Tiltbrush) to help her paint the sets 

- Enter the party talk to other artists (Warhol)

- Have affairs with other famous artists - she is almost as famous for this (SIM’s type interaction)

- Socialite dinner parties - dressing up as each dish served 

- In-game incentives (e.g., selling work, flirting with gallery owners)




- A studio assistant? Or Dianne herself?

- Getting yelled at and paid by Dianne 

- Helping her paint sets

- Going to parties with her 

- Or first-hand experience, such as being on the yacht party, etc




- General public - consumers that attend museums and galleries

- Users who watch documentary films

- Increasing VR consumption by women 




- Dianne’s surrealistic photography

- A Clockwork Orange (Film)

- Eyes Wide Shut (Film)

- The Shining (Film) 

- Google Tilt Brush (Vive)

- Walking New York with JR Artist (NYT Mag Cardboard VR)



- 360 video of studios 

- Panorama images 

- Canon 5D Mark III video

- Interview audio

- Archival images 


- NYC Photography Studio

- Bridgehampton Home

- Bridgehampton Art Studio

- Art Galleries 

- Dinners