Much has been described and developed in the manufactured worlds of the virtual and the technologies of visual (sensory) augmentation. What is happening in the mean-time, but far less explored, is the growth of a form of transpositional reality. While much of virtual reality exists to present a new world to the individual, the use of live video allows us an opportunity to explore the world as it is, from from a perspective that we can not ordinarily enjoy. This is already coming into use in the form of virtual tours of real-estate as well as live virtual experiences of concerts and events, bu these uses of the technology are incredibly lacking in vision and only scratching the surface of what is possible now, let alone any consideration for what could be done creatively using future technology.
My current work Extensions of Self is a very basic level exploration of this idea. It allows two people to move and interact with each other/themselves from the alternative perspective of the other. It’s this form of out-of-body transposition that I find most intriguing in the current iterations of the field. This has been explored in movies such as Strange Days in which there’s an underground network of memory peddlers. What’s it like to actually view one’s self from the perspective of another, or just to momentarily exist as another. What does it feel like to see your own body as a form a astral projection - floating and bodiless? What do you look like from another height?, from the side?, behind? not reflected? and to see these perspectives shift as another’s view shifts.
Many cameras are scale independent – they operate as a point rather than a volume. It is simple enough to shift the perspective to allow views that provide a variation to what we are used to. Simply moving a 360 camera closer to the ground allows a perspective of a small rodent. Push two cameras closer together and the shift in parallax further heightens this effect. With sufficient design one could experience the view on an insect scale. Controlling such a device while immersed can shift one’s perspective on what’s important on a micro scale. Conversely place two cameras at height and widely separated and enjoy the perspective of one at greater scale 1.
VIRTUAL ABSTRACTIONS OF PHYSICAL SPACE:
Moving beyond what can be done with physical cameras, we can expand to combinations with other technologies. Ultrasound technologies have already advanced to the point of third dimensional motion. While this is a relatively low resolution technology, it’s ability to provide a live voxel rendering of the interior of the body gives intriguing possibilities to start allowing individuals to have their own journeys through their bodies in real-time. Alternatively, we have sensors which allow viewing the world in IR or UV. How might our perspectives shift if we were able to interact with the world, live, but with the variations and damages that are not visible to human eyes.
Transpositions need not be physical, or not solely so. If one takes the above concepts, and accentuated the natural technological lag, one can explore a temporal space multiple times and from different perspectives each time. Properly explored, what might it be to relive an experience from several viewpoints. What if instead, one were to watch their own movements and try to follow them. The game Red Hot already plays with the concept of time accelerating and decelerating, but what’s the effect of seeing the world on a different time scale, but fully immersed, rather than simply viewing a passive time-lapse. What would be our view the of the world from a giant's-eye view, at a giant's time scale that we might then move through?
1 XKCD “Depth Perception.”