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Electronic arenas for culture, performance, arts and entertainment


Characteristics and goals of the eRENA project include the following.

- A focus on developing inhabited information spaces in which all participants can be mobile and socially active. Thus, audience members as well as performers and artists will be able to explore, interact, communicate with one another and participate in staged events.
- Directly addressed issues of scale. Through concepts such as dynamic crowd aggregations, the electronic arenas will eventually support hundreds or thousands of simultaneous participants, bridging the gap between current small scale, real-time communication technologies such as video conferencing and current massive-scale non-participative broadcast technologies such as television.
- Integration of artistic, technical and social perspectives. This represents a fresh and important approach to the development of information technologies and will result in highly engaging and interactive interfaces and underlying systems.
- A potential use by every citizen, representing a potentially large future market for IT
- The project is structured around underlying research challenges, which involve three topics:
- Production - addressing the spatial and temporal structuring of electronic arenas
- Participation - addressing the representation and behaviour of different participants in electronic arenas, including humans, agents and crowds
- Interaction - addressing navigation, unencumbered interaction and new forms of "mixed reality" boundaries between real and virtual space
The eRENA project will publicly demonstrate and evaluate the results of these research challenges through thematic spaces which provide specific examples of electronic arenas. Initially, these thematic spaces will be based on the extension of the traditional cultural forms of galleries, performances and television. In the longer term, however, we will explore entirely new cultural forms appropriate to this new medium of expression. The research challenges and thematic spaces are brought together in a detailed three year workplan.

The outcomes of eRENA will include: new techniques for individual and mass participation in producing and shaping the content of virtual arenas; new ways of structuring electronic arenas so as to afford different modes of interaction, navigation and communication in different virtual spaces or at different stages of an event; powerful new techniques for embodying humans and agents in electronic arenas; mechanisms to support dynamic crowd aggregations, including crowd representations and mechanisms for managing crowd membership; new ways for groups and individuals to interact with shared and projected displays; technical support for building structured mixed realities out of boundaries between real and virtual space; and finally, the demonstration of these techniques through a series of public exhibitions and performances which are complemented by networked experiments.

The eRENA consortium brings together internationally known digital artists from ZKM and GMD; experts in multi-user virtual reality and computer animation from EPFL, Geneva, Nottingham, KTH and GMD; social scientists from Nottingham and KTH; broadcasters from Illuminations and KTH; expertise in CAVEs and other projected interfaces from GMD and BT; and networking expertise from BT.
The Erena project is focused on inhabited information spaces to support new forms of cultural experience spanning arts, performance and entertainment. We refer to these kinds of spaces as electronic arenas. In eRENA long term research is involved into a range of "spatial technologies", especially multi-user virtual environments, coupled to new forms of artistic content and an understanding of social interaction.

Funding Scheme

ACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures


Kungl Teckniska Hoegskolan

10044 Stockholm

Participants (7)

British Telecom plc (BT)
United Kingdom
British Telecom Centre 81 Newgate Street
EC1A 7AJ London
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Inf- Ecublens
1015 Lausanne
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
Schloss Birlinghoven
53754 Munich
Illuminations ( Television) Ltd
United Kingdom
Jaykay House, High Road 39-43
UB10 8LF Ickenham Uxbribge
University of Geneva
Rue General Dufour 24
1211 Geneva
University of Nottingham
United Kingdom
University Park
NG7 2RD Nottingham
Zentrum Für Kunst und Medientechnologie

76049 Karlsruhe