T_Visionarium I

T_Visionarium I is an interactive immersive virtual environment set within a Dome, twelve meters in diameter and nine meters high, made of inflatable fabric and articulated to a satellite reception, recording and database system. It allows viewers to spatially navigate a televisual database and apply a recombinatory search matrix to create emergent narratives from the database’s network of digital streams. T_Visionarium I was premiered at Eurallile, Lille, France as part of the 2004 European Cultural Capital Lille Festival and at Casa Dell’Architettura Rome in 2006 as part of the La Rivoluzione Algorithmica international exhibition.

T_Visionarium I

Video documentation

Upon entering the Dome the viewer places a position-tracking device connected to stereo cable-less headphones upon his/her head. The viewer then steps onto a control platform at the center of the dome, where a touch screen interface, projector and control hardware are positioned. The projection system is fixed on a motorized pan tilt apparatus mounted on a tripod. By means of the touch screen interface, the viewer then selects an option from a recombinatory search matrix. The matrix allows for algorithmic searching and recombination of data sets from within a televisual database. This database is recorded during a selected weekly period of time from eighty simultaneous satellite television channels. The matrix operates across a number of different parameters such as keywords, phrases, color, pattern, ambience etc. On selection of a parameter, the matrix then extracts and distributes all the corresponding broadcast embodiments of the parameter over the entire projection surface of the dome. The viewer, by moving their head in different directions, and thus the position of the projected image, shifts from one channel’s embodiment of the selected parameter to the next.

T_Visionarium I

The acoustic delivery system is based on the use of RF cable-less headphones, which each viewer wears while inside the dome. Thirty-two audio channels are interactively mixed down for stereo RF delivery to all the headphones. The mixing of these channels is handled dynamically in immediate relationship to the movement of the pan tilt projection system, so that a fully spatialised sound-scape can be defined inside the dome architecture. This is directly linked to the distribution of the visual content. T_Visionarium I enables new recombinatory narrative content to be generated by means of the viewer’s critical navigations across the data sets stored in its database. These data sets of televisual information, received and stored by the computational system, are re-constituted across the interior skin of the dome according to interactive encounters between viewer, apparatus and data, revealing emergent dramaturgies of narrative content.

For T_Visionarium I, twenty-four hours of television (from across the European continent) was recorded, analyzed and organised into a database suitable for real-time reassembly. During operation, viewers can reassemble this material by selecting from a range of keywords. For example, by selecting the keyword “dialogue” all the broadcast data is reassembled according to this descriptor. In this way the viewer experiences a revealing synchronicity between all the channels linked by the occurrence of keyword tagged images. All these options become the recombinatory tableau in which the original data is given new and emergent fields of meaning.