NTT comments

The marriage of telephones's social dimension with visual technologies such as video and computer graphics is an important direction for research and development within the telecommunications and computer fields. One promising telecommunications network metaphor for the integration of computer graphics, video images, and sound data in a social space of communication and exchange is "cyber" (computer generated 3D) space, calling into question issues of human recognition mechanisms in their design. An important multimedia network system currently under development within NTT is a video-based, multiple-user/multiple-format communications environment called "InterSpace." Integrating both cyber and physical worlds into a number of buildings, rooms and plazas, the user moves as if operating a bicycle, approaching other users (s)he finds, engaging in conversation, examining objects, gathering to discuss, in short, a variety of socio/perceptual "interactions."

Message from the artist

In front of you sits a new world model. A matrix. It looks like a cube. It is a personal sphere. It is what you will it to be. It seems simplistic at first, but what can you tell from its external appearance? You touch it. Manipulating it, you find that it does things. Now you've "touched" it. In this there is no objectivity. You've been touched by it. It can only appear through the user's investigations, a world model which can only exist through the reality of its activation. In the end, it is a world impossible to observe objectively.

This project is an attempt to follow the gap between the design of InterSpace's inner workings, and the metaphor that this lidded boxed matrix appears to be.

1. Visible workings

2. Internal workings


How do we recognize the world? Is there something, somewhere, that we can identify as our world? From the moment we're born, there's the world. Outside. Yet the world may be something that, unrecognized, isn't. Maybe it's formed together with conceptions of language and time. Maybe through the medium of language, the world of objective thought opens before us.

With the advent of new computer technologies and perception of the computer as a communications medium, the world come to be reassessed, and reexamined. An ever increasing number of fragments of our "world" have been transferred into the computers' realm, to be modelled, and tested. At first these were mathematical experiments. Soon, however, general phenomenon came under the computers' knife. Through learning to model and manipulate various parameters, definitions of the world were challenged. It is clear now that previous definitions of what the world are intenuous. Ready definitions no longer apply.

Here, utilizing digital networking technologies, I wanted to create relational threads impossible to test in the physical world. World models in research environments impossible to judge by objective standards. The first was defining cubes to contain the domain of the visual senses (the limits of perspective). Each individual cube is attached to its neighboring cubes in such a way that the user can navigate freely between them. Some cubes move to bordering cubes. Others jump to distant ones.

They function as a virtual world. Yet at the same time here we find models of the actual world displayed in this network of connections. Users exist within each of the virtual cubes. Each cube has a lid, and it is made to be opened. The structures created through the users' actions exist to be witnessed by third parties. These structural models are further recorded on video, to be pasted on cubes within the virtual space at will. The user can jump from the video in the cube into another cube. In each cube sits an "ordinary object." These function as icons to show the relationship between the models of the actual world and the virtual space. Thus language is introduced. That which indicates the actuality of the virtual world is itself the virtual world, while at the same time indicating the actual world of its context. Moreover, in the real model, should they be placed in different boxes... we can see how easily concepts of space can be twisted.

In this impossible space, in this technologically definable time known as the present, exactly what is projected for us? This is what I'd like to consider with this installation.

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