HyperArts Laboratory | Imaging Place | Bios | Curricular Pilot Project | VM420a | VM420a International
HyperArts Laboratory | Imaging Place | Bios | Curricular Pilot Project | VM420b | VM420b International

John Craig Freeman

Eric Gordon

The following is a proposal to establish "HyperArts Laboratory," a research center dedicated to the development, production and dissemination of a form of place-based virtual reality developed over the past decade as "Imaging Place".

HyperArts Laboratory
The goals of the center would include the following:

1) To develop the technologies, the methodology, and the content for truly immersive and navigable narrative, based in real places.

2) To create and archive an ongoing body of new work from around the world.

3) To facilitate the necessary international, inter-institutional, interdisciplinary collaboration.

4) To showcase the work in both an ongoing public exhibition and to stream it to the Internet.

5) To build curriculum around these pursuits.

New technologies, whether they are computer hardware and software, or image capture equipment such as video and still camera equipment are constantly emerging. HyperArts Laboratory would act a test bed to identify the technologies, which are best suited to the production of place-based virtual reality and to custom design technologies when none exist. Although we have invested over a decade to the development of the methodology, we feel that we have barely scratched the surface in both form and theory. Some examples of possible directions that should be explored in terms of form include; stereo-optics, surround sound, on-demand TV, and multi-user participation on the Internet. Even more numerous are the theoretic possibilities of this emerging form and the content possibilities are, of course, unlimited.

The center would include a small lab facility, where students and faculty would come together to create new work. Unlike many cultural forms, this work is designed with the specific intention that it will never be completed. New projects are simply added to the lager global interface. "Imaging Place" is therefore in a constant state of becoming. If this body of work is not upgraded regularly the content is at risk of being lost to obsolete storage technology. We are looking to place the project in one robust, centralized location so that the content can be maintained and expanded.

By its nature, this work is international, inter-institutional, interdisciplinary, and collaborative. HyperArts Laboratory would provide the technology and the infrastructure for conducting collaborative activities over distances, between individuals and institutions, and across disciplines, using telecommunication technologies. This would include a web-based Internet portal capable of supporting web cam and other digital and telepresence communications, and an archive to maintain a record of collaborative activities. The telecollaboration features of HyperArts Laboratory would act as a model that could be replicated elsewhere.

HyperArts Laboratory would include an exhibition space, where the public can engage in a permanent, but evolving exhibition of the work as it is produced. Additionally, exhibitions could be prepared, tested and packaged for travel and servers would stream web-based versions of the work.

In an attempt to engage students in these possibilities and to develop a globalized, twenty-first century approach to higher education pedagogy, we are proposing the development of place-based virtual reality curriculum. We intend to create a collaborative, interdisciplinary, inter-institutional course structure with companion courses other colleges or universities.

For more information on place-based virtual reality curriculum, visit the Curricular Pilot Project.

We have been experimenting with digital media's ability to support the emergence of place-based virtual reality for over a decade. With this proposal, we are inviting others in the humanities, computer science, and sciences, to help us transpose what we have learned into the truly interdiciplinary, immersive experience based in real places from around the world.