[artinfo] pixxelpoint 2003: Pixel city

Kovacs, Balazs xrc at stud.btk.pte.hu
Mon Aug 11 21:52:07 CEST 2003

(Pixxelpoint 2003 fesztival palyazati kiiras - digitalis vizualis es
hang targykorben; hatarido szeptember kozepe)

With each next generation of hardware when the computer performance
usually doubles, the ability to visualize faces us with new challenges.
Undoubtedly, both hardware and computer screens face the biggest
challenge when it comes to 3D visualizing, either because three
dimensions must be represented on a 2D surface or because of the
animation or digital film scripts. Until we see holograms arise in
front of us, the 2D surface of paper, film/video projections or sreens
remain the only areas for space representation which took shape with
the invention of painter’s perspective. In its attempt to present to
our mind a spatial experience only in two dimensions, representation
is always a deception of the sight with regard to either spatial forms,
architectures or city spaces and non-spaces.
Yet even the latest tehnological innovations do not neglect the
essential rules and criteria which have become established with a
view of human being’s ability to watch and perceive. Primitive drawings
which functioned like markers of space were followed by dosproportionate
representations of cities on icons, spatial representations and
planning which have, in turn, been complemented by plane geometries
and topographies of cities and territories, thus falling predominantly
in the domain of painter’s abstractions. But it was quatrocento that
saw the invention of perspective, as a result of the need to represent
the city space. However, it was not before the intervention of the
computer that the representation of architecture and cities gained
new impetus and through rendering spaces and objects entered the field
of animation and eventually film which shows us long-gone historical
places and not-yet-seen futuristic representations.
Arguably, with the development of electronic media and tools, the
ability to render 2D presentations of 3D objects and spaces has
long ago ceased beguiling with abstractions, which were built on
construction and colour machines (perspectives) for the adjustment
of eyesight, thus approaching hyper-realistic spatial experiences
in, for example, digital film scripts.
Yet realistic representations are only one of the possible
interpretations of space. There is another spatial category which
struggles to symbolize the unspatial internet. Here, connectivity
and bandwidth are on the same level, similarly as with geometry
where the category of the coordinate system functions as the basis
for spatial representation. If internet represents a perfect tool
for visualizing and mapping, allowing us to create virtual cities
and within them real communes, manipulations with space provide us
with a unique oportunity – by means of the digital interface the
Internet allows us to act in real space or in the lives of real
In this way the gap between virtual and real spaces is closing,
causing the real space to search for new standards in representing
the space. Projects based on the computer-games culture require
more and more sophisticated interfaces to move around in virtual
spaces while projects that are founded on scientific and
techological paradigms require accurate and responsive interfaces
since human beings’ lives depend upon them. The virtual and the
video-produced image has become palpable and real through the
responsiveness of digital fingers and movements of our bodies.
VR helmets, VR gloves and other cyber extensions provide us
with a means to exist in a world which has lost its status of a
fake, spare and second-rate space, since it provides us with an
adequate experience of the spatial dimension. In some developed
systems a specific kind of moving is developed which is not a
replacement as it arises from the specificity of numerical spaces.
Virtual reality is slowly losing its abstractness that functioned a
s the poetics of reading metaphors as reading a fake reality,
thus positioning itself on par with the reality as a legitimate,
parallel reality.
With strategies of rendering on 2D surfaces the possibility which
presupposes a third dimension on our side of the paper or screen
is often neglected. What we have in mind here is especially 2D
presentations that are responsive or even interactive with the
user or visitor. The 2D space becomes a groundfloor upon which
we move and cause it to change, or alternatively, the changes on
the 2D groundfloor affects our perception. The immersion into the
virtual world of numerical spaces is not necessarily an escape
from reality since by means of interfaces, we can experience virtual
spaces in the same way as we experience real places.
PixxelCity has become a synonym for the most complex forms of spatial
dimension in which we find filled spaces as well as emptiness between
them, spaces which are inhabited and equipped with urban fixtures,
both real and imaginary, and in which we can move and position 3D
objects. This can be either an archaic or a futuristic space
which constantly changes since it is inhabited with life.

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