Direction, 2013


 

 

 

Authored by Ian Callender, Ryan Glassman, and Sylvia Tomayko-Peters. Direction was programmed specifically for the CAVE, a 3D virtual reality environment housed in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University.
 
Direction seeks to explore user interaction through subtle coercion. In a maze-like environment, viewers are given the opportunity to read and explore, though their path is already predetermined by the system. The environment is made up of a series of square rooms, or spaces, created out of text. These spaces progress gradually from rigidly geometric to chaotically organic. As viewers move deeper into the maze, they follow the narrative both presented through the text in front of them, and overlaid in the ever-increasing enveloping sound.
 

While we are typically presented with the contrast between the machine and the organism, Direction works to overturn this rigidity. As a viewer travels closer and closer to the center of a machine-built structure (built by a machine and built out of a machine), our expectation is to progress towards a more structured, discrete, and "computerized" environment. Yet, this relationship is inverted. At the center of the maze, and at the heart of the CAVE's computer, there resides a living, breathing, form. The further into the maze, the more the space around the viewers becomes flexible, unpredictable, and alive. The viewers are slowly drawn into the environment, becoming a part of the maze's thoughts and actions.
 
By capitalizing off of the "first person effect" of the CAVE's tracked glasses, Direction also hopes to achieve an experiential discrepancy between the single viewer wearing the tracked glasses, whose movements the CAVE responds too (the performer), and the other viewers, not wearing tracked glasses, who act as a passive audience.