New Worlds - the Digital Dive

Short report (1998) about the conference Online Realities in 3D.

When people think about 3D environments, they usually think about games where you can navigate through landscapes and worlds in order to reach a certain goal. In the DEAF98 Digital Dive a series of projects were presented in which 3D is used not to re-produce reality (or a fantasy world) but to explore the ways it can be used in online worlds. Artists who are currently developing these kind of worlds were invited to present and explain their works during the program "Online Realities in 3D".

programm 5 (Nicole Martin and Lilian Jüchtern) talked about "Staging Strategies"; an online environment consisting of several parallel universes that can be accessed through the Internet. In each universe other events take place that you can see when you enter an object. These objects are placed in a sphere so the users have spatial reverence points. In earlier stages of the project there was no sphere and the worlds looked like a giant Christmas tree without the tree, Nicole explained. In "Staging Strategies" the information is spread over the universes so one universe contains only two events (sound, code, color, simulation and animation). So in a world called "bubble bath" you see pulsating red objects and hear bubble sounds and in the "eerie fog"-world you are enshrouded in a blue fog hearing scary sounds. programm 5 use these objects instead of transforming them into a landscape that resembles reality to increase the intuition of the user when he/she navigates through the worlds. It appeals to the senses; you feel immersed when entering "Staging Strategies".

Károly Tóth presented "The Negative River": a co-operation of artists, writers and scientists who create a navigable organic environment, using the river as metaphor. It is a beautiful world, full of colors, movements and shapes that contain information or "knowledge" as Károly Tóth calls it. It was not easy for him to explain what he meant by this knowledge. He talked about thoughts, imagination and perception. TNR is continuously being filled up with new shapes that influence this world, creating an interactive structure of thoughts and cognitive relations.

Demedusator is an online environment where information is transformed into cryptograms. It is a container in which you can put your own data (texts, pictures, objects, etc.). It is an easily accessible database where you don't have to wait hours to download everything. You just have to click on a cryptogram to obtain the information. Anybody can put anything in this container; there is absolutely no control. Demedusator was created out of a need to organize the huge databases on the Internet, to make it more accessible and faster for users (especially for those people who don't have the latest and most up-to-date computer systems).

All the worlds that were presented during the program are still being improved and changed because the artists are constantly examining and exploring the uses of 3D in online environments. It was obvious that the creators are more at home behind a computer screen than a microphone and that the time they spend in their own worlds makes it difficult for them to explain their motivations and ways of thinking to a public that are unaccustomed to these worlds. The best advice is to explore the online worlds yourself and let your intuition guide you!




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