|3D Grrls: a selection of 3D websites by women by Kathy Rae Huffman|
The Internet, which has grown to be an all inclusive container of and transmitter for personal discourse, memory, research and commercial interchange, offers a seemingly open-ended exploration of linked concepts that cycle and lead the user down mysterious data trails. Although most will quickly site Laura Croft, and her 3D sisters iNAGO - Mona, Miss Boo, and Ulala as the most known representatives of virtual 3D entities, women have taken another path. Their limitless recognition of "space" for is taking many courses, and as physical space is recognized by many who seek to carve out virgin territory, apart from the "real world" which is besot with environmental and political crisis. 3D Web development is a relatively under-utilized geographic area, only recently being researched by institutions as well as individuals as real space, and the work by women is a growing and significant part of the equation.
Women, who quickly claimed graphic space online, also use the Net for communication and sharing. They have found a special feature in the construction of 3D forms, environments, and spaces, as it allows for the fantasy to evolve around relational forms. The special quality of VRML (and other new coding means for 3D) offers women a more investigative view on the digital environment. In the ongoing search for identity - especially in online situations-- VRML offers a specialized and personal exploration of space and time.
The fact that VRML is not a highly visible format has, in some way, made it more attractive to some, as a space where subjective investigation can take place over a period of time, because the software has remained relatively fixed due to lack of profitable commercial application. On the horizon, Broadband Internet services will become a special environment that will offer a unique opportunity to investigate new, technically experimental sophisticated 3D sites. Today, the best opportunity to view 3D websites, and to reach audiences face-to-face, is in festival environments, which provide a necessary step towards access at a high level, education and the guided introduction to parts of the web that might still be unaccessible in most home environments.
This selection intends to give a good overview about different possibilities for handling VRML and 3D space online. They are not commercial puff pieces, demos nor made as part of a team effort. They each deal with a certain topic personally, and show an amazing skillfulness in the bringing together of image and idea.
To view this works online, you will need a plug-in for your browser that will allow you to see 3D worlds and objects created in VRML (The Virtual Reality Modeling Language.) Several will work, but I recommend Cosmo Player 2.1(for windows) , available for free at: (mary flanagan's site), or for mac. Cosmo player can also be downloaded.
Kathy Rae Huffman
Kathy Rae Huffman is currently director of Hull Time Based Arts, Hull,
UK. She has been active online since 1994, and together with Eva Wohlgemuth,
created Siberian Dea and Face Settings (www.thing.at/face).
She is presently co-moderator of FACES, a mailing list for women in media
She originated www.VRML-ART.org
with Karel Dudesek in 1998, and the annual competition has been exhibited
internationally throughout 2000.
The 3D Grrls and their works:
Mary Flanagan (USA)
A work about her 91 year old grandmother, Mary Flanagan removes motor
control from the viewer in her "Perpetual Bed" VRML piece, augmenting
visual images perhaps taken from the memory of one confined to a sickbed.
Tania Fraga (Brazil)
A complex structure, which can be explored from within and without. The Xamantic is an interactive 3D environment which presents poetic actions of sharing and transforming signs. Created while a senior researcher conducting post doctoral research at the University of Plymouth, UK, School of Computing (caiia-star) Fraga brought the fine art experience to the investigation of virtual space by looking at the Concrete and Minimalist movements of art, which are specifically reflected in the 3D worlds she creates.
Aleksandra Globokar (Slovenia)
This site requires registration and a midi plugin
This site offers two different small games. It might take some time
Arghyro Paouri (France)
Boxing Match putts boxing into anew philosophical context. The VRML work
Nicole Stenger (France/USA)
Linda Vigdor (USA)
A development of Wohlgemuth's System Work, Bodyscan was began in Monterey, California, at Cyberware, Inc. with a REAL bodyscan in 1997. There, a 35 Mb data_set was created (like the Astronauts, the Star Trek Crew, and other stars like Arnold Schwarzeneger). The artistic explorations are both personal and ambivalent, connected to stories and memories, and related to issues of self-identity. One is able to fly over her body or get into it by several points defined on her form.
Silvia Wyder (Switzerland)
This environment is a beautiful tube-torus, you can not navigate but you drift through allowing the special "movie-like" experience of going into the picture. It is accompanied by texts and spaces that build a longer experience.