Margaret Dolinsky



Role(s):


Speaker/Presenter and Author


Writings and Presentations:


Title: Dream Grrrls: Metaphors
Writing Type: Sketch / Art Talk
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1997: Ongoings
Abstract Summary:

The process of designing multi-user virtual environments (VE) is similar to the process of designing code or imagery, in that it is necessary to pas­sionately maintain a catalog of ideas and references. VE design combines these passions to construct a consistent graphical user interface (GUI) with metaphors for exploration and self-reflection in a collaborative team effort.

Dream Grrrls, a VE created in the CAVE, focuses on the immersive nature of dreams. A typical GUI hos elements or icons that function as naviga­tional tools and sit on the periphery. VE icons do not operate like a tool­box, but ore spatially based, like the galleries in on art museum. Dream Grrrls is a journey through five different environments presented in a labyrinth filled with paths and three-dimensional objects or “icons.”

Much as art attempts to convey insight, Dream Grrrls attempts to generate a new awareness based on interaction and immersive experience in order to create an exciting new level of communication beyond verbal know ledge. Dream imagery presents itself in a way that makes the real uncer­tain. On one path, the participant can ignore the warnings (“Don’t go up there!”) and enter a commanding head. Inside, the navigational wand becomes a flashlight to reveal walls made of whispering faces and creatures. The light provides illumination – a gateway to another level of consciousness and ultimately, the many sides of ourselves.

In a world inhabited by large vessels, the user approaches the unfamiliar territory like a desert island of loneliness. One vessel has imposing eyes that follow the participant wherever she goes. She comes face to face with what could be her psyche. If she chooses to confront it, she finds herself unable to move, rattled by the world around her, only to awaken back where she come from (the labyrinth), the same, yet somehow different.

Dream Grrrls allows users to experience their world in a new and dynamic way, much like on active or lucid dream. Participants “cooperate” with the computer in such a way that one is uncertain of the action/reaction hierarchy. Dream Grrrls becomes a medium to create a personal performance by learning to interact with the environment and recognize its plasticity.

Dream Grrrls could not have been possible without the artist’s library of images and the focused dedication on software by Grit Sehmisch. Audio consultation was provided by Joe Reitzer, and programming consultation was provided by Marcus Thiebaux, Dave Pope, Bor-Tyng Lin, and on Electronic Visualization Laboratory of sages. Special Thanks to Dan Sandin, Tom DeFonti, Maxine Brown, Dana Plepys, Jim Costigan, and Maggie Rawlings. 

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