[-empyre-] Empyrean

i was going  to post this a week ago, but got caught up in too many

empyrean - soft skinned scape // multiuser VRML
runs best on windows 2000 or NT (haven't tried XP)
Cosmoplayer recommended pluggin http://ca.com/cosmo/
otherwise Cortona http://www.parallelgraphics.com/products/cortona/   -wont
look as good ( beta not recommended as text will not appear, links will

-mac users.. same pluggings as above .
i have also made easy to use individual scapes of the world available -try
empyreanOmni or empyreanPoly so its less likely to eat your system memory
and crash your browser..
-and there is also a chunky 13 minute real video stream of a naviation thru
the VRML world available on the site, which just needs real player.

concepts and aesthetics:
empyrean is about electronically constructed space..its name comes from the
medieval term for the encompassing sphere of the heavens - when the earth
was seen to be the center of the universe it was where god and the angels
lived, an etherial arena.. i wanted to draw some parallels between that
conception and the way the internet and VR is hyped as a spiritual space
today, and playing with the notions that the author or programmer is god...
the reality of the place is that the users and the users interactions are
what makes sense of the world.. eg.. it doenst exist unless a user loggs in
and looks at it.

i also wanted to look at the "virtualness" in a spacial way in terms of
micro and macro imagery..empyrean is in infinite outer space, but at the
same time it is a microscopic space inside the body, eg in "chaos" scape you
dont know if what you are looking at is a star system or an iris... its not
landscape.. there is no horizon in empyrean.. -no up or down , the text will
follow you around so you can't often orient yourself by it either.. there is
no" right" way... some users find this really disconcerting , and some love
the floating/underwater feel. there are very few image files..eg the whole
site really consists of a rock core sample, a scan of my dna, a planet
surface from nasa, and a few biological images.

in empyrean i also visualised virtual sapce before it was colonised by
people recreating minitures of "real world" places eg mid west america
recreated in places like Activeworlds, miminicng real streets, houses etc
etc. i wanted
to try and look at it without seeing it divided by a cartesian grid..
without it having to be hardlined.. where it was soft and fluid and
pulsing.. not markered and fenced like real estate.  empyreabn isnt tryingto
be a seamless "realistic" space..it  is obviously constructed..there are
polygons deliberately missing in some objects..its
not perfect, its not trying to trick you that its "real" in terms of hard
space. as ive been saying in other threads, i dont think immersion is
dependent on "realism"
it is to be enjoyed as it is..not by what it mimics.

the language is very important -they are texts and snippets of code about
(dis)connection , about relationship, about yearning, about satsifaction.
also about power and the nature of the construction and coding language of
empyrean itself..
texts in most scapes are randomly generated . you many not see them all, or
even be aware there is something to read. again..the curious user gets more
information. the 7 scapes (which relate to the 7 charkras of the body in
eastern philosophies) are named after terms or concepts in physics..eg eg
void, order chaos etc, and there are sub atomic particles called charm,
strange, truth etc (recalling brian eno's "quark strangeness and charm"),
i wanted to connect to physicist's sense of awe, beauty and humour.

there are lost of different ways you can use the site.. alone,or in
multi-user mode.
if in multiuser you choose an avatar from the 4 currently available, which
as well as being cute  have additional sounds and gestures. the avatars that
have no human characteristics -they are cellular or electronic constructions
eg "miss_fluffy" -the current favourite pink opal and orange avatar-  is
visually based on a mucous drop from a sneeze. Avatars may communicate with
each other through a text interface on the multiuser Open Source V-net
interface . they can also squeak, squawk, blink, swell up and go opaque,
gurgle, giggle, blush, (some still indevelopment)  etc to communicate with
each other, so communication isnt necessarily tied to a dominant language
group, age category or educational factors. you can choose to be inside the
body of your avatar..or leave your avatar body behind and move around
invisibly to other users.
sound design is by Mitchell Whitelaw is spatialized and attached to the
etheric objects, which are mostly moving and often set at different pitches,
so once inside the world the soundscape is constantly shifting around the
viewer's avatar. In a sense you could navigate by sound alone as each zone
has a distinctive soundscape, like the glassy crunching and grinding spheres
of "chaos", or the frenetic cellular skating rink in "charm", or the
tinkling birdsong of the delicately choreographed neurons in "void."

keeping with its organic nature, it expands and contacts to fit each
distinct installation site. its previosly show on moniters, as discreete
large data projections, as well as simulataneous multiple geographical site
installations useing places like the large LED foyer screen at Nabi in
seoul,  and as a stand alone video at film festivals. Its been in networked
VRML hubs like at Stuttgart last year, and its been installed inside a
shipping container in an feedabck loop - the networked and projected
multiuser world, as well as the video of "miss_fluffy's" journey through the
Empyrean scapes is playing,  as well as having a web cam focused on the user
interaction at the site..so you can sit at home and see how users in the
shipping container in the middle of germany see your avatar interacting with
them from their perspective via the web cam..err if that make ssense..

i also intended to translate it into a 2 sided low cost CAVE, so it was
networked online and i n the 3d immersive space at the same time..but think
this may never happen now..

anyway thats more than enuff..


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