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Petra Gemeinboeck
Roland Blach
Nicolaj Kirisits

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artist statement | technical statement | process



technical statement

Uzume is named after a Japanese Shinto goddess and means "whirling". The story of Uzume tells of her strange dance, with which she lured the sun goddess Amaterasu out of the cave where she had hidden herself.

The interplay between Uzume's immediate response and willful behavior shapes the relationship between the visitor's self and the virtual "other". Yet the dialogue with the strange, whirling opposite also shows its ambiguous nature. Uzume thus explores issues of identification, reflection, and control in relation to immersive computer controlled systems.

Immersed in Uzume, a sensitively responsive, dynamic environment surrounds the visitor, unfolding the communicative nature of an abstract virtual entity. As its visitors are not able to control the surrounding, they need to develop a playful dialogue in order to get acquainted with the opposite. The interface, as it is constructed by the application, becomes more or less opaque. Engaging and exploring, visitors repeatedly cross the otherwise transparent borderline between their play and the underlying control system.

Uzume bridges past and present as the abstract structure grows in the relation to time and space and is drawn purely by sequences of spatial transitions. Its unpredictable gestures evolve based on spatial representations of the temporal behavior of nonlinear chaotic systems, so called "Strange Attractors". Moving within the physical projection space and gesturing with their arms, participants are able to traverse and explore the various states of the system. All of these configurations develop irreversibly and shape an individually actualized, unique moment. Both, the visitor and the whirling opposite, are embedded in a viscous fluid-like force field that becomes subtly transformed by the physical presence of the visitor. Uzume's sonic response, shaped by spatially moving sounds, develops individually modulated, tenuous passages along the traces of the visitorõs movements.

Uzume's world is bound to its physical projection space; there is no navigation. As the visitor moves physically around the projection, they affect Uzume's current state. There's an almost tangible quality to this projected virtual world, in that the underlying, invisible fluid-like "medium" sensitively responds to every movement, and viscously transforms the visible surrounding.

The technological possibilities and limitations of the immersive, real-time stereo projection system of the CAVE, as well as their perception-related impact become an integral component of Uzumeõs realization. The most interesting quality of this system is the integration of its inhabitant in the evolving progress. The "observing" (tracking and processing) capability of the computer-controlled system permits the viewer to be "present" and involved. Due to the systemõs attentive and responsive qualities the dialogue between the visitor and the environment inherently evolves in a state of mutual influence.