Internet culture is driving the development of mixed and large-scale electronic spaces in which artists and audiences can interact with one another. Two i3 projects, both concerned with Inhabited Information Spaces (IIS), are pushing the boundaries of virtual participation.
The eRENA project supports new forms of cultural activity spanning the arts, performance and entertainment. Specialists in virtual reality, computer animation, social science and broadcasting have linked up with artists to research spatial technologies and novel artistic content. The consortium will create thematic spaces using a range of technologies such as agents, navigation and networking. These spaces are intended to evolve from traditional cultural areas (e.g. art galleries) to innovative forms of expression adapted to this new virtual medium. Participants -audience members, artists and performers - in large numbers will explore, interact and communicate in shared events.
Project eSCAPE, which involves some of the same artists, seeks to develop heterogeneous large-scale landscapes. The focus is on new user-centred interfaces within which a range of different approaches and spaces co-exist. This is a radical departure from current electronic environments, where groups of users are often locked into their own separate spaces. The more inclusive environments will lay the theoretical foundations for future VR developers.
On display is the World Generator, an interactive system running on a Silicon Graphics workstation that allows visitors to construct and generate "poetic" worlds by choosing graphics and ambient music from a set of 3-D templates. The installation links the EITC and the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.
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