Re: [-empyre-] Re: 3D in Gallery Space - books

This is quite an interesting paper, particularly as it goes to the problem
of data representation in VR spaces. I have quoted Guynup's explication of
the issue and his tact toward a solution below. I am perhaps not as
optimistic that the merging of 2D and 3D representational strategies in
data vis. It seems to me that 2D strategies alone have proven quite
powerful as a basis for representing multidimensional data sets. Of
course, these emphasize the ability of the reader to learn how to read the
representation, which may be highly abstracted and very specific to the
particulars of the data. How much mileage can be derived from merging a
third dimension (or 4th in terms of narrative, time based motion through
space), into the visualization strategies needed to approach, for example,
a 100 dimensional space? Is 3D representation a very much more natural way
to represent such a space, which is essentially Steve's point when he
states "Data representation in three-dimensions is difficult because
spatial-visual information generated by the space does not support and
often contradicts the data the developer wants represented." A good point.
My question is: is the layering of 2D and 3D strategies likely to be that
much more clear?

As Lisa Jevbratt has been indicating recently, there is nothing wrong with
allowing representation to be complex or difficult, and asking viewer to
work harder to understand it. Human brains are powerful; thus perhaps one
of the best representational strategies is to get out of the way as much
as is possible and trust in the human ability to adapt to a woolly
representation of complex data that suits the needs of the data first,
regardless of our aesthetic or political preference for 2D, 3D, or time
based. The use of VR in many, perhaps most, data sets may function in much
the same way that enforcing the use of crutches on otherwise healthy
bipeds in a museum space would. I am not saying that there are not great
applications of VR to problems that specifically relate strongly to 3D
spaces such as architecture; museums and retail spaces for example. There
are. But I question whether the strategy will lead to generally powerful
kinds of general visualization solutions of the type which are now
culturally ubiquitous 2D representational strategies.

The point of the essay is well taken, however. There is much exploration
to be done, and as always, a whole lot more that we don't know than we do.


"Data representation in three-dimensions is difficult because
spatial-visual information generated by the space does not support and
often contradicts the data the developer wants represented. Perspective
and shading throw a wench into our ability to compare and quantify.
Furthermore, the informational narrative created by moving through or
rotating the space offers little practical benefit for data that is not
inherently spatial or placed with that in mind. To delete the spatial
information is to return to two-dimensional space. This then becomes a
dilemma of purposes: navigatible space requires visual-spatial information
that cues the users, allowing them to move through it, but data
representation seeks clarity and comparability.

We can summarize the failings of prior works in two general categories:
realistic environments that did not compensate for the affordances of
mouse and screen, and data driven environments which could not structure
the information to the required level of clarity. The former is a function
of technology, the latter of purpose.


As we exploit the native characteristics of SMVEs, a path becomes clear.
We merge the speed and clarity of two-dimensional interfaces with the
immersive, experiential aspects of three. In structuring space as subsets
of explorable data, we can group and display information in new ways. We
can add a level of connection and to some extent the connotations that
were previously unreachable."

On Tue, 24 Jun 2003, steve guynup wrote:

> This issue of experience is a real one. But we aren't
> the first to face this problem. Game Theory, Film
> Studies, Sculpture, heck even Paintings have issues
> regarding reproduction in a book.
> The question becomes one of "Is the best level/amount
> of knowledge possible being shared and dicussed.
> In eight years I've never seen a paper (let alone a
> book) that discussed and compared multiple web3D works
> from various artists/developers. There has been only a
> few lists of works (do "link" pages count?), several
> individual statements on individual works or at best
> collections of individual statements (often by people
> who have never built anything).
> Go to a bookstore or shop online, compare what's been
> published in other media (from painting to web design)
> to books on VR. You'll see trend. VR books have few
> pictures, many opinions and rarely if ever talk about
> design in 3D space.
> As for what I want - more docs like this:
> > [personally I love those errant pixels,
> so do I, my "untitled memories" piece makes good use
> of pixel dust...
> peace
> Steve
> --- Lloyd Sharp <> wrote:
> > >
> > ><snip> books now out are basically about the theory
> > of
> > >the online experience, but not on the work </snip>
> > >
> > >yep, I entered this list with a rant on this.
> > Though
> > >I'm apologetic about the tone, this really is
> > >something that we on this list ought to do more of.
> >
> > I'm interested in how this could be done...
> >
> > Is there a useful way to talk about and look at
> > these works in a
> > publication with all the inherent limitations of
> > that experience .
> >
> > What would these books that focus on the work rather
> > than the theory
> > tell us about the works?
> >
> > It may be that these texts|books have problems
> > conveying what is
> > unique and exciting about the 'realtime' experience
> > and therefore
> > default focus to art fame instead. The ones around
> > currently are very
> > unsatisfying...
> >
> > Its also interesting that it seems there is not a
> > lot of talk in
> > current theory about the failure of technology and
> > how that can be as
> > exciting as the successful use of it.
> > [personally I love those errant pixels, the little
> > tears in 3D space
> > and inversed normals]
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> >
> >
> =====
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