[NetBehaviour] Turbulence Commissions: "Mixed Realities"

Turbulence turbulence at turbulence.org
Thu Feb 7 19:54:06 CET 2008

February 7, 2008
Turbulence Commissions: "Mixed Realities"
Join us for a reception tonight, 5-7 pm EST!

Huret & Spector Gallery
10 Boylston Place, 6th Floor
Emerson College
Boston, MA

Ars Virtua (Second Life: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/6/77/48)


by Pierre Proske
with technical assistance from Artem Baguinski and Brigit Lichtenegger
by John (Craig) Freeman
by Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott
by Neill Donaldson, Usman Haque, Ai Hasegawa, Georg Tremmel 
by Michael Takeo Magruder, Drew Baker and David Steele

"Mixed Realities" is an exhibition that explores the convergence-through
cyberspace-of real and synthetic places made possible by computers and
networks. "Mixed Realities" links and overlays the Huret & Spector Gallery
(10 Boylston Place, 6th Floor, Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts),
Turbulence.org (http://turbulence.org/mixed_realities/turbulence.html), and
Ars Virtua (Second Life: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/6/77/48).

Second Life is a shared, synthetic, 3-D environment through which people can
interact in real-time by means of a virtual self or avatar. Although it's an
imaginary place, it is often able to "masquerade as real" (Richard Bartle)
because it approximates reality persuasively enough to facilitate player

Audience members - who will be embodied as avatars in Second Life, browsing
the works at turbulence.org, and/or be physically present in the gallery -
will interact with the works and with one another. Thus, "Mixed Realities"
will enable people who are distributed across multiple physical and virtual
spaces to communicate with one another and share experiences in real time.

Five works were commissioned by New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.
specifically for the "Mixed Realities" exhibition. They are:

by Neill Donaldson, Usman Haque, Ai Hasegawa, Georg Tremmel

"Remote" connects together two spaces, one in Boston the other in Second
Life, and treats them as a single contiguous environment, bound together by
the Internet so that things that occur in one space affect things that
happen in the other and vice versa - remotely controlling each other.
Communication between the two halves of this extended environment is a
complex choreography coupling the environmental phenomena of humidity,
temperature, light, speech, mist, wind, sound and proximity across the two.
The object in Boston appears to be a seat; but, experientially, the Second
Life space appears to be inside the seat. A similar alteration of scale
occurs in the other direction. Visitors to the Boston space and the Second
Life space must negotiate to achieve goals: e.g. by sitting down, breathing,
touching, knocking, colliding. The environmental data of both spaces is
publicly available in realtime via the EnvironmentXML repository enabling
others to build devices and spaces that connect directly to both Boston and
Second Life. The intention is to explore an architecture that is resolutely
"human" (in the sense of being inhabited, configured and determined by its
occupants) yet context-free (because it does not privilege geographical

"Imaging Beijing"
by John (Craig) Freeman

"Imaging Beijing" is the latest installment of Imaging Place, a place-based,
virtual reality project that combines panoramic photography, digital video,
and virtual worlds to investigate and document situations where the forces
of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local
communities. When a denizen of Second Life first arrives at "Imaging
Beijing", he, she or it can walk over a satellite image of central Beijing
where they will find a networks of nodes constructed of primitive spherical
geometry with panoramic photographs texture mapped to the interior. The
avatar can walk to the center of one of these nodes and use a first person
perspective to view the image, giving the user the sensation of being
immersed in the location. A web-cam captures live video of the user and
transmits it to the head of an exhibition avatar. Dated links in the virtual
space launch a browser, which opens a web journal of the Imaging Beijing
field research.

by Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott

"NO MATTER" is an interactive installation that activates the transformation
of imaginary objects through the Second Life virtual economy into physical
space. Second Life builders construct replicas of famous buildings, luxury
goods and custom-designed objects, first reproducing, then inverting the
notion of value itself. With zero cost for gathering resources, production
of goods and transport of finished product, these items proliferate widely
and quickly. In the real world, consumer items and imaginary objects serve
as forms of emotional attachment - projection screens for desire, fear and
love. A 3D-simulated space, combined with a virtual currency and social
interaction, Second Life is a fully functioning economy of the immaterial.

"The Vitruvian World"
by Michael Takeo Magruder, Drew Baker and David Steele

In the 1st century BC, Roman writer, architect and engineer Vitruvius
authored specific building formulae based on the guiding principles of
strength, utility and beauty. For him, architecture was intrinsically linked
to nature and is an imitation of cosmic order. The most well-known
interpretation of this postulate is the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
in which the human form is depicted in unity with the square and circle -
representing material and spiritual existence respectively. "The Vitruvian
World" is a real-time immersive installation that embodies the principles of
Vitruvius within a contemporary context. Existing in three distinct yet
interconnected spaces, the artwork simultaneously embraces the virtual, the
physical, and the network that connects them.

by Pierre Proske, with technical assistance from Artem Baguinski and Brigit

When someone screams in real life, do they hear us in virtual reality? Do
they want to? "CATERWAUL" is an interactive sound installation that operates
as a one way "portal" to Second Life via the internet. A physical wall in
Boston operates as a totemic locus of grief. People approach it with intent
to wail and mourn. The mourners grieve their lost loved ones who spend more
time in virtual and on-line worlds than they do communicating in real life.
The cacophony of the lamentation is recorded by hidden microphones in the
wall, transmitted across the Internet and piped out of an "identical" wall
in the virtual world Second Life. A website displaying a simulation of the
wall allows other people, on the threshold of "real" and "second" life, to
vicariously eavesdrop the wailing.

"Mixed Realities" on Turbulence.org was funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation
for the Visual Arts. We are deeply grateful for their support.

Jo-Anne Green, Co-Director
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.: http://new-radio.org
New York: 917.548.7780 . Boston: 617.522.3856
Turbulence: http://turbulence.org
Networked_Performance Blog: http://turbulence.org/blog
Networked_Music_Review: http://turbulence.org/networked_music_review
Upgrade! Boston: http://turbulence.org/upgrade 
New American Radio: http://somewhere.org

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