John Orion Young believes we could be living in a simulation.
Just like in The Matrix, everything in our world is a virtual reality constructed by a computer program, he says. Young is a VR sculptor who is known in the art world by his initials, JOY. He creates 3D digital art using blockchain technology, and his work is traded using cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. Recently, Young said he removed his Oculus headset and realized that the physical world and VR were “indistinguishable.”
“Maybe we’re like the cave people of virtual reality,” Young said, speaking from his part of our shared experience known as Portland. There, in a yellow closet, Young creates his eponymous digital 3D sculptures using an Oculus Rift S headset and Medium by Adobe. Collectors feverishly buy and trade his JOYs, which are like trippy Pokémon, including hammerhead sharks, rainbow butterflies, and freaky trolls. Ownership of a JOY is verified on the Ethereum blockchain, limited to one person at a time. This makes them highly desirable—and valuable.