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 (www.egroups.com/group/faces-l). 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)
http://www.maryflanagan.com/bed/Default.htm
The Perpetual Bed

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.
Verbal suggestions augment this with phrases captioning the graphical images and phrases summarizing thought-- se de rappeler et d"oublier.

Tania Fraga (Brazil)
http://caiia-star.soc.plym.ac.uk/projects/XMANTIC/index.html
Xmantic Worlds

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)
http://www.architectivalia.org/cybervilla/
CyberVilla

Animated shaders surface on portal -a "villa "interior... where the artist asks "Why would the avatar need a house at all? How should it look like? How should it work? Where should it exist? The virtual house is thus supposed to be a place for storing all that non-materiality which creates our image in the world of modern Internet communication.

This site requires registration and a midi plugin


Lauri Koutaniemi (Finland)

http://www.koutaniemi.com
VRML GAMES

This site offers two different small games. It might take some time
to find out what to do. In the first one there are 4 dots which highlight --each at a random time-- and one must click fast on one that gets active. In the second game, try to avoid that a ball touches outer borders by keeping a square focused on ball. The game depends on concentration and fast reactions.

Arghyro Paouri (France)
http://top.inria.fr/paouri/APaouri/boxing/box-eng/index.htm
Boxing Match

Boxing Match putts boxing into anew philosophical context. The VRML work
progresses through various aspects of the sport, and of the study the artist says: "In a technological society which has extremely refined methods of destruction, the direct aggression, seemingly natural, is too explicit to be tolerated. That brings us to the paradox of boxing: its irresistible attraction for much, which finds there not only a performance of physical exploits, but an emotional experiment impossible to formulate; a form of art without equivalent."


programme 5: Lilian Jüchtern und Nicole Martin (Germany)
http://www.p5-berlin.de/netzhaut/
netzhaut [retina]

A cool classic VRML world with four option wrls to fly through. The interactivity leaves traces when you . Programme 5 has focused on the design of a formal language for virtual reality, based on the idea that the virtual world is dynamic information

Nicole Stenger (France/USA)
http://nicole.netgate.net (works with explorer)
FAUX CINEMA

The faux cinema is an exciting collectioin…an online WebBook that includes
chapters such as "Nanfei in Waspland. " Don't miss the complete lo-calorie section and her little shop of splendors. Some of the chapters are restricted to adults.

Linda Vigdor (USA)
http://www.paraspace.com/pages/Spaces_of_form_still.htm
Spaces of Form
A classical demonstration of a virtual dreamland, with personally designed architecture that depends upon, but defies reality. Vigdor is a specialist in creating interior space in 3D.


Eva Wohlgemuth (Austria)
Bodyscan

http://thing.at/bodyscan/index.htm

Or, go direct to VRML:
http://thing.at/bodyscan/inout/wrl_big.htm
or
http://thing.at/bodyscan/inout/wrl.htm (a ZIPPED version for PC-Users

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)
http://tilde-doser.home.cern.ch/~doser/perforations/perforations.html
round and round we go

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.


Acknowledgements:
Eva Wohlgemuth for her generous time for site testing and remarks. Karel Dudesek, Martin Schmitz and Zvonimir Bakotin for the co-development of www.VRML-ART.org, a work began by Van Goph TV.