ISOLATION - COMMUNICATION
3D AVATARS AND TRACEROUTES ON THE WEB

Topolcianky 20.7.7. 1997 - 4.8.1997


ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

PROJECT DIRECTION:
Caro Fekete-Kaiser
KulturAXE Vienna
Prof. Herbert Lachmeyer
Director of the Master Class for Experimental Visual Creation
Academy of Artistic and Industrial Creation, Linz
Associate Prof. Martin Sperka
Deprtment of Information Science and Engineering, FEI Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava

COORDINATION:
Associate Prof. Jan Fekete, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava

ARTISTIC AND TECHNICAL DIRECTION:
Margarete Jahrmann / Max Moswitzer, mamax
Dipl. Ing. Hermann Gruber, Archimedia
Institute for Arts&Technology (Forschungsinstitut der Hochschule fuer Gestaltung in Linz), initiated by Dr. Herbert Lachmayer

LECTURES:
Prof. Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann University of Geneva, Miralab
Assoc. Prof. Martin Sperka University of Technology, Bratislava


PROJECT IDEA:
Multinational workshop and a hot topic in webcasting and presentation
is Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), which means data 
representation in 3 dimensional virtual space. A growing community is
linked by electronic communication and developing construction of
personal representations - Avatars as a cyberspace parallel to the
mythical incarnations.

The human body is  not so much the history of its representations as of 
its modes of construction."  Michael Feher, ed. (Ramona Naddaff, Nadia
Tazi) Fragments for a History of the Human Body, 1989

Avatars have according to status and definition in virtual space certain
predefined shapes, habits and activities defining their entities 
(by scripts).

Checking of the state of the "common databody". Can the individual no 
more have a single databody? The thoughts of Stone, that one common 
databody is  defined by a certain amount of users of a community in
cyberspace, can be  usefull, when several participants want to define
a new virtual persona in dataspace together - in collaborative work.  
The virtual person is no more linked to the limited personality, gender
and body.

Stone describes in her work "The war of desire and technology at
the  Close of the mechanical age",1995, the in/difference between 
person,  personality, persona, subject and self. It is now necessary 
to understand the physical position of the self in virtual systems 
independantly from the body.

The metabody can be developed in a common net process. The
3 dimensional representation of the databody by e-mail and image
transfer as factor of the  body can be constructed here in a
test surrounding (see Douglas Davis, who is starting "magic of 
words and images" in his online projected metabody).
 
Possible representation formats beside analog historical metaphors  
evolved in discussions and constant work at the workshop and were 
compared with existing efforts on this topic.

Which models for orientation in real or virtual life can be used? 
The aesthtics of computer rendered worlds is  aproblem since user 
friendly  applications are available. Render modes and textures entail
a specific corporate structure.

How emancipation from analog retrospective metaphors is possible?
What metaphors we can use ? Which independant mental models we can 
develop and which are working for navigation in dataspace?

The world known expert on visual human cloning - professor Nadia
Magnenat Thalmann shown in her lectures the state of art in modeling 
shapes and behavoir of computer representations of persons.

Participants from Austria, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraina tried in 
frames of 14 days workshop implement their own ideas of selfrepresentation in cyberspace
with the help of available hardware and software systems and assistance 
provided by sponsoring companies.

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EQUIPMENT AND PROGRAMS

Hardware: 6 x Silicon Graphics O2 workstations, LAN, overhead video projector, 1 x Apple Power PC, video camera
Software: Alias Power Animator, Silicon Graphics Cosmo Worlds, Netscape Navigator, Adobe Photoshop, Macromind Director

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INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION

ARCHIMEDIA, Institute for Arts and Technology, Linz

Academy of Artistic and Industrial Creation, Master Class for Experimental Visual Creation, Linz
Department of Information and Computer Science, FEI STU Bratislava
Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava

WITH FRIENDLY ASSISTANCE OF:

ARCHIMEDIA, Linz, Prof. Dr. Lachmayer
Silicon Reality s.r.o. Bratislava (provided Silicon Graphics workstations and technicians)
Silicon Graphics Brno, Vienna
Software Partner s.r.o. Bratislava
Austrian Embassy in Slovakia
Swiss Cultural Foundation PRO HELVETIA
Soros Center For Contemporary Arts, Bratislava
Soros Center For Contemporary Arts, Kiev

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Verein KulturAxe
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A-1030 Wien, Austria
Tel:+43-1-7133808
Fax:+43-1-604180015