Networked Virtual Art Museum
Project Number Seven – 1992
Dear Ms. Perry,
Please regard this letter as a submission to the EDUCOM’92 call for project descriptions. I would be very happy to participate in the conference, and could present extensive document pertaining to the project described below.
I’m director of the Networked Virtual Art Museum, a project of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Carnegie Mellon University. The project goal is to employ telecommunications to form a network of immersion environments, to be used for collaborative education specific to communication, virtual reality and creative investigation.
To date, our system is operational, virtual worlds are constructed, and the first public demonstration will be conducted September 10-11, between CMU and EXPEDITION 92, held in Munich, Germany, sponsored by UNESCO.
For this demonstration users located at both sites with be conjoined in the same immersion environment, linked by a simple modem to modem connection. They will see each other and interact with objects simultaneously. One major advance of the project is to use modems to for realtime networking of immersion environments. The next phase of the project is to employ servers and the Internet, followed by broadband telecommunications.
The Information Networking Institute (INI) at CMU has arranged for for an independent thisis to be conducted with Bellcore employees to resolve connectivity issues. Our geographic location, Pittsburg, is of advantage to access the infrastructures provided by PREPnet and NSFnet.
We are forming a grid of participating art schools located in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan and in the US to participate in collaborative learning, utilizing networked virtual reality. We will exchange virtual worlds, and participate in collaborative design. and form a virtual art academy.
Carl Eugene Loeffler
STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
College of Fine Arts
Carnegie Mellon University
Loeffler is regarded as a pioneer in telecommunications. He was co-editor of Art and Telecommunications, a special issue of Leonardo magazine. His new book, Virtual Realities: Anthology of Industry and Culture will be published in Japan and the US. Loeffler has received both an Artist and Critics Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and awarded an Arts America Fellowship from the United States Information Service (USIS).
The Networked Virtual Art Museum project supports the design, development and operation of long distance, multiple user, networked immersion environments.
The project team will design and construct a multi-cultural art museum articulated through networked virtual reality, and established by a grid of participants, or nodes, located in remote geographical locations. The nodes are inter-connected using modem to modem, or high bandwidth telecommunications.
Each participating node will have the option to interact with the virtual environment and contribute to its shape and content. Participants will be invited to create additions or galleries, install works, or commission researchers and artists to originate new works for the museum. Further, guest curators will have the opportunity to organize special exhibitions, explore advanced concepts, and formulate the basis for critical theory pertaining to virtual reality and cultural expression.
The museum can also function as a stand-alone installation and is easily transportable for presentation in cultural or industrial venues.
Key Areas of Investigation
The project supports the design, and development of long distance, multiple user, networked immersion environments. Key areas for investigation presented through the project include the following: Visual art; architectural planning; telecommunications; computer programming; human interface design and artificial intelligence; behavior and communication protocol; copyright law; and cost analysis.
Visual Art and Architecture
- The Formation of an Art Museum, which employs networked, virtual reality communications technology, is the essential basis of the project. The construction of the virtual Museum invites the participation of visual artists, architectural planners, Computer Aided Design teams, and other computer programmers.
- The project serves as a testing site for virtual reality software, utilized for the programming and creation of virtual worlds. Artists, architectural planners, and computer programmers will collaborate in the authorship of the museum project.
- Critical to the communications technology employed, is the research and implementation of networking approaches, inclusive of modem to modem, Internet and high bandwidth connectivity (BISDN). Telecommunications specialists will contribute to the project, and suggest method for the connectivity required.
Telepresence and Artificial Intelligence
- End user interface, is an essential area of development, as well as telepresence and the application of artificial intelligence articulated in the forms of agents, guides, and information objects. The inclusion of investigators in the areas of interface design and artificial intelligence are major components.
Groupware and communication protocol
- The project will document multi-user interaction and groupware behavior, establish protocol within networked immersion environments, and suggest standards. The contribution of communication specialists will address appropriate aspects of quantification, documentation, and standardization.
- The project will additionally investigate copyright ownership and protection of computer software within distributed networks, inclusive of operating systems, and environments established by public authorship and groupware applications. The inclusion of consultants versed in international copyright law and computer software will be encouraged. Suggested approach will be the formation of a comprehensive copyright agreement for distributed network and groupware applications.
- Other study will address the practical nature of networked immersion environments, and investigate the potency of information access for the end user, and typify the end user experience. The project will invite the participation of cost analysis specialists and formulate a practical cost basis for networked immersion environments.
Carl Eugene Loeffler Project Director Telecommunications and Virtual Reality STUDIO for Creative Inquiry College of Fine Arts Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA email@example.com TEL: (412) 268-3452 Fax: (412) 268-2829
Studio For Creative Inquiry
FAX: (412) 268-2829
Announcing the What: Networked Virtual Art Museum Technical Demonstration, to be conducted at Expedition 92: Launching New Worlds of Learning, Munich, Germany,. September 10-11, 1992
The Networked Virtual Art Museum is a project directed by Carl Loeffler, Research Fellow, at the Studio for Creative Inquiry, College of Fine Arts, CMU. The pioneering project investigates telecommunications and virtual reality, and provides a basis for multiple users located in distant geographical locations to be conjoined in the same virtual, immersion environment. The project employs telecommunication hardware, as well as the hardware associated with virtual reality: data eyephones and multi-directional navigation devices.
The immersion environment is an art museum, which contains galleries offering exhibitions. The exhibition presented for the Munich demonstration is conceived by Director Carl Loeffler and is titled Fun House. While based on the traditional concept of the fun house, the exhibition features advanced programming concepts such as agents with Artificial Intelligence, mirrors offering reflections, and a game room which explores gravity and other aspects of physics illustrated by thrown objects.
Considered as a whole, the project is on the advancing edge of telecommunications thru the exploration of immersion environments, networked over long distance, while supporting multiple users. The use of agents, and the articulation of physics and other details like reflective mirrors , places the project at the forefront of the design of virtual worlds.
The Networked Virtual Art Museum utilizes the WorldToolKit, a virtual world development software, available from Sense8 Corporation. The Virtual Research head mounted display, and the Ascension Technology 6-D mouse (The Bird), and 486/50 compatible with DVI and MIDI comprise the basic system hardware.
The first public demonstration of the project will take place September 10-11, in conjunction with Expedition 92: Launching New Worlds of Learning, held in Munich, Germany., under the auspices of UNESCO and the Commission of the European Community. Expedition 92 conducts two days of keynote addresses, workshops, and technical demonstrations. Select participants include: Michael Eisner, Manager, Disney World; Robert Jacobson, Director, World Design; Myron Krueger, Producer, Artifical Reality; Kevin McGee, MIT Media Lab; Siegmund Prillwitz, Director, Institute for Sign Language; Kristina Hooper Woolsey, Director, MultiMedia Lab, Apple Computer; among many others.