Televirtual Chit Chat

1993 Monte Carlo, Monaco, Karlsruhe, Germany

Software: Gideon May

    During Imagina '93 in Monte Carlo, installations in both Monte Carlo and in Karlsruhe were connected by modem through a conventional telephone line. Facing large video screens, the two distant players each shared the same virtual image space. While manipulating their own graphic elements, each person was simultaneously seeing the result of their distant partner's actions on the screen in front of them. 

    Each player could choose letters from a simulated keyboard on their screen. Using a multi-axis 3-D mouse, they could interactively manipulate the position, size and shape of each of these letters over a rectangular plane that was divided like a game board into a grid of sixty-four squares. A map on the surface of this game board showed Europe from Monte Carlo to Karlsruhe, representing the geographical distance between the two players.

    Sharing a televirtual space of alphabetic forms, the two players engaged in a formal interaction that was both a sculptural interplay of the letters and a tentative communication with words. Each player could place up to eight letters on the board at one time, and each player's letters had a distinctive colour (magenta or cyan). These letters could be individually resized in width, height and depth, becoming more transparent as their size increased. Each letter could also be moved anywhere over and above the surface of the game board. After some time, letters that were not being manipulated in one way or another would disappear from the game board area. Another function allowed players to independently control their angle of view over the whole scene, and a voice-phone connection between the two sites also allowed the players to speak to each other while manipulating the letters in the shared virtual space.

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