Place - A User's Manual

Jeffrey Shaw

Place - A User's Manual , ongoing
Co-workers & Funding
Software: Adolf Mathias
Hardware: Huib Nelissen and Bas Bossinade
2-D graphics: Tamas Waliczky
Consultant: Rufus Camphausen
Produced under the auspices of the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria in cooperation with Stiftung Kulturfonds, Berlin, Germany and the ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
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This work extends the tradition of panorama painting, photography and cinematography in the vector of simulation and virtual reality. The viewer can interactively rotate a projected image around a circular screen and so explore a virtual three-dimensional space constituted by an emblematic constellation of panoramic photographic landscapes. The installation has a large cylindrical projection screen with a round motorised platform in its centre, a computer and three video projectors which project onto a 120-degree portion of the screen. Continous rotation of this viewing window around the screen reveals the full 360-degree computer-generated scene. While the work is controlled and generally viewed from within the circumference of the screen, the projected image can also be seen on its outside surface (together with the projected shadows of those spectators who are standing inside). The interactive interface in this work is a video camera. By rotating this camera and using its zoom and play buttons, the viewer controls his forward, backward and rotational movements through the virtual scene, as well as the rotation of the platform and of the projected image around the circular screen. The projected scenery is constituted by eleven cylinders showing landscape photographs taken by a special panoramic camera in various locations - Australia, Japan, La Palma, Bali, France, Germany, etc. Each of these virtual panoramic cylinders in the computer-generated landscape has the same height and diameter as the projection screen, so that when locating himself at the centre of these pictures the viewer can completely reconstitute the original 360-degree camera view on the screen. In this way the work locates the panoramic imagery in an architectonic framework that correlates the design of the virtual landscape with that of the installation itself, so making the virtual and actual spaces coactive on many levels of signification. The ground surface on which these panoramas are positioned is marked by a diagram of a Sephirothic Tree - the placement of each panorama connects the visual identity of its scenery with the connotation of its symbolic location. The viewfinder on the interface camera shows an aerial view of this Cabbalist diagram, interactively centered on the viewer's actual position in the landscape. A microphone on top of the interface camera picks up any sound that the viewer makes and this controls the release of travelling three-dimensional texts within the projected scene. Quoted from various sources, these texts offer a discourse around issues of place and language. Whilst the letters originate in the centre of the screen, their physical arrangement in the virtual space is dynamically determined by the viewer's movements. After some minutes these letters become more and more transparent until they disappear, forming a trace of something said that temporarily marks each viewer's presence in this work.
  • aesthetics
    • acoustic
    • immersive
    • interactive
    • panoramatic
    • real-time
    • virtual
    • visual
  • genres
    • installations
      • interactive installations
      • virtual reality (VR)
  • subjects
    • Arts and Visual Culture
      • panoramas
    • History and Memory
      • historical sites
    • Media and Communication
      • writing
    • Nature and Environment
      • landscapes (environments)
  • technology
    • displays
      • electronic displays
        • projection screens
    • hardware
      • cameras
    • interfaces
      • body sensors
        • motion capture
      • interactive media
        • auditory user interfaces (AUI)
        • tangible user interfaces (TUI)
Technology & Material
· SGI O2 (ab IRIX 5.3)
· rotierende Plattform mit MBC-Controller und seriellem Steuerungsanschluß
· modifizierte Video-Kamera mit LCD-Sucher
· Projektor
· Spiegelkonstruktion
· cylinder (OpenGL- und SGI-DMedia-basiertes Programm zur 3D-Navigation durch endlose Ebenen mit texturierten Zylinder-Objekten und Ansteuerung des MBC-Plattformcontrollers)