Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour is a work by Rodney Hoinkes and Stacey Spiegel about the Rotterdam harbour, it was shown at DEAF96.

Over the centuries people have come to Rotterdam from all over the world and for various reasons. Some were only passing through, others stayed. The resulting community is made up of many cultures and a great variety of people, all with their own family history, their own individual story, which colors their relationship with the city.

Some 100 of these stories have now been assembled in Safe Harbor, a project in the harbor simulator of MarineSafety. Normally, the harbour simulator is a training facility for the shipping industry where all harbours in the world can be simulated. Here a captain to be, standing on the bridge, can experience a (360 degree) virtual harbor.

Stacey Spiegel has created a panorama for this special virtual environment through which visitors can travel and access a special database where all the stories are stored. The stories consist of text, image (photographs and videos) and sound. In each of the stories people talk in their own words about their identity and their relationship with the city of Rotterdam: a representation of the multicultural city.

The stories have been integrated into a computer generated landscape. The visitors "travel" in small groups and find their own way in this world and share their explorations; a personal experience in a public presentation. In this virtual world a hundred portraits float about. Upon approaching one, the person depicted will start to speak and on large monitors on the bridge video"s start up with interviews and still images. The harbor simulator offers us a chance to experience this world literally around us, and a computer screen at home adds an individual window. Safe Harbour here exists as a 3D interactive environment which will be accessible via the World Wide Web both during and after DEAF96.

Travelogues were written down in ship"s logs, among others, and in this way places acquired meaning and became known. It was a way to relate experiences of other places, of the unknown: stories and images of traveling and of ports of call. The shared travel space of Safe Harbour is an interactive ship"s log that tells stories of a multicultural city. As in other travelogues the meeting with other people and the unknown offers an opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate one"s ideas about the city and the urban community as they have evolved over the centuries.

Safe Harbour by Rodney Hoinkes and Stacey Spiegel (1996) from V2_ on Vimeo.

 

As we ourselves now create and shape new worlds and cities on the Net based on technological possibilities, the need arises to examine and re-evaluate our utopias. Utopias exist outside the reality of interhuman relationships where people act in freedom. They are but blueprints of a world whose inhabitants cannot or dare not act, are all the same and interchangeable and therefore there are no stories to be told. Yet for Stacey Spiegel these new worlds too can only exists by the grace of individual activities and personal interpretations and of the panorama of stories that can be told.

Over the centuries people came to Rotterdam from all over the world and for various reasons. Some were only passing through, others stayed. The resulting community is made up of many cultures and a great variety of people, all with their own individual story. Some 100 of these stories have now been assembled in Safe Harbour, an installation in the harbour simulator of MarineSafety.

Here a 360 degree Internet virtual reality has been created in which multicultural Rotterdam can be seen and experienced. The stories are made up from text, image and sound in a database and have been merged with a computer generated landscape into a navigable world. In each of the stories people talk in their own words about their identity and their relationship with the city of Rotterdam. The visitors "travel" in groups and find their own way in this world. This world is also accessible through a website, making it possible to experience this world individually through the Net as well as in groups within the 3D environment of the Rotterdam harbour simulator.

This project researches which ideas can be gathered from computer networks about a multicultural city and its urban community. The Web may offer a window to look into this virtual world, but in the harbour simulator it can be experienced all around us.

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