Re: [-empyre-] multi-perspectival / cultural hegemony of space

Some good questions here, Alan.

But a question here - when we're talking 3d in all of these cases, we're
not talking (or are we?) about 3d environments (i.e. lenticular screens,
glasses, etc.) - we're talking about flat display and 3d -> 2d projection.

I personally work only in VMRL/X3D, which (although it can be used in the service of physical augmentation-based environments) means only flat display 3D -> 2D projection.

I think this makes an enormous difference - it's nowhere near any sort of
virtual reality or realism, but is, in fact, the result of mediating
projecting apparati.

Exactly, and as I mentioned earlier, for my work I eschew the use of the term 'virtual reality', particularly when used in the sense of Pesce in his 93 'Final Amputation: Pathogenic Ontology in Cyberspace' essay where he says "The fundamental intent of virtual reality is to produce in the observer the perception of an event as if it had occurred in the physical world"

Things are a lot less idealistic these days, and as I said earlier, I'm interested in the properties of the medium itself, not how it relates to 'reality'. Obviously I'm interested in how *people* relate to 'reality' (ie, i'm not talking about it as an escape), but I prefer to use the medium for the unique properties that it displays (excuse the pun :)

Now why this matters, perhaps, is that there are
always issues of navigation if the work is interactive - and most of these
I've found clumsy, not intuitive, and not in any way orienting the body
towards the experience,

Well, I'm not really interested in orienting the body towards the experience - the body is sitting at a computer, so I don't see why it should be any more of an issue than any other computer-based art like Flash, or websites, or hyper-fiction, or QuickTime movies or anything. As I said it is not "Virtual Reality" it is Web3D. Certainly, if you don't know how to navigate the work using either the keyboard (which i prefer fwiw) or mouse, then yes you'll have to learn, but isn't that like saying that a book is non-intuitive for someone who doesn't know how to read? It's a given.

Also, on this point, where is this holy grail, this "intuitive interface"? I've certainly never seen one - I wouldn't regard the mouse or the keyboard as intuitive - they are highly specific and learned. What about breathing in and out to navigate, a la Osmose, is that intuitive? I've never experienced it so I don't know. But, really, what does 'intuitive' mean anyway, surely it simply means something that you learned so long ago and so comprehensively that you no longer need to consciously think about it as you do it?

usual issues of commercialism - my old VRML 1 something doesn't run

You should still be able to run most, if not all, VRML1 files today.

the current interfaces seem clumsy, etc.

Until learned. Surely you can't be suggesting that, say, the interface to Word is not clumsy? For that matter, what pen to paper or talking to someone? Both of these 'interfaces' take years to master, and are totally specific to the culture (program) they interface to.

I'd appreciate comments on this - how much is 3d work software-dependent
and corporate-dependent for viewing? to what extent is it 3d at all?

This is a good question indeed. One of the major reasons why I have stuck with VRML (and will be sticking with X3D, which really is VRML3) is that is an international standard, an ISO. This means that the technology itself is not owned by any corporation, it is available to anybody. As much as I respect and admire a lot of the work being in Shockwave3D, I have an inherent distrust of closed, proprietary technologies, not only because I'm worried that Macromedia will suffer one of these currently popular corporate collapses, or be bought by Microsoft who will then shelve it, or whatever, but also because I simply don't want to depend on a corporation for survival. VMRL and now X3D are guaranteed to still be around if and when any particluar browser vendor crashes and burns. Also, the open standard approach does seem to attract more interesting development initiatives (there are some really fascinating projects going on based on VRML/X3D). Yes, it takes a little more effort to implement something like gravity, which comes as an Xtra for Shockwave3D, but on the other hand you can build whatever you like to interface with it, and bear in mind that the Shockwave plugin is around 5Mb download and comes with annoying "update now for blah blah marketspeak" whereas the average VRML plugin is around 1Mb.

John Klima adopts what is probably the most surfer-friendly approach which is to work in Java so no plugin is required. He's a much more capable programmer than I am, so I look forward to hearing his views on the subject.

Apologies for going on naively here - Alan -=

Glad you asked these questions, they're important.


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