+short description of empyrean.
Empyrean is a web based, multi-user VRML environment, dealing with
the idea of the net being a living organic space - taking a post
colonial perspective by investigating the colonisation of the
virtual, redressing the dominant net desire to recycle virtual space
as a poor imitation of the real. This parallel universe contains
seven intertwined e-scapes, etheric arenas beyond space and time,
realms of the spirit, which are contained and constructed in
electronic space - a "soft scape". It is a minimal place of emptiness
- of hungry voids, transversed by in-tensions and strange
attractions. In empyrean multiple users interact inside an art work,
to become part of that empyrean, navigating thru poetic texts,
intricate soundscapes, and subtly transparent images within the
worlds of order, truth, beauty, strangeness, charm, chaos, and void.
Users interact via their avatars - a physical representation in the
empyrean which have no human characteristics whatsoever, rather being
cellular or electronic constructions to redress the worrying trend in
virtual spaces to homogenise avatars into racial and gender
stereotypes. Currently users communicate with each other thru a text
interface on the net site using a vnet server, but as the avatars and
the work develops to maturity, the text interface will disappear and
they'll only interact through sound and gestures. They will squeak,
squawk, blink, swell up and go opaque, gurgle, giggle, blush, etc to
communicate with each other, and they will have invisible
"attractions" to other objects in the scapes scripted in. Using ways
other than text to communicate has the advantage of being not tied to
a dominant language group, age limit, or educational factors, which
is a really important aspect of this artwork.
The VRML scape sound design by Mitchell Whitelaw is spatialized and
attached to etheric objects, which are mostly moving and often set at
different pitches, so in a sense you could navigate by sound if you
had the right soft and hardware. Each zone has a distinctive
soundscape, like the glassy crunching and grinding spheres of
"chaos", or the frenetic cellular skating rink in "charm".
desktop computer it isn't quiet as sensitive as it could be, but in
the container installation context it would be quiet engulfing and
immersive in its sound quality and spacialization.
Online multi-user installation - empyrean can be easily installed in
the darkened container space with a data projector and connected via
the net as a multiuser world, however the more interactive physical
locations it has the better, therefore I would recommend installation
in at least one other outside locations.
Installation with video - the video acts as a documentary of
navigating thru the site. A video loop could be played against a
single or multiuser data projection at opposite ends of the long dark
installation space. Its then presenting two options to the User - the
voyeuristic sit back and be navigated thru virtual space experience
of the video as an authentic experience of the work, or the navigate
and interact yourself experience.
Offline single-user site -empyrean also works as a stand alone
offline installation, connected to a data projector where users
navigate thru the scapes. the data stream would fill the space.
This is what is currently showing in Hybrid Life Forms in Amsterdam.
+List of technical requirements.
number dependent on which installation option is chosen.
-The online site would need a recent PC running Windows2000 or NT ,
using Netscape4 with Cosmoplayer vrml pluggin , with a graphics card
like Nvidia gforce.
-Secondary terminals would also work for additional users.
-Data projectors for web and/or video.
The video is 13.35 mins long, mastered
on Betacam SP pal or ntsc, VHS and DV versions also available. To get
an idea of the video check the video stream link at