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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathImmersion
Éphémère (Davies, Charlotte), 1998

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interface, is groundbreaking. The user interface is the point of contact between humans and machines where exchange with oneself or with others takes place. Many forms are possible. It is at the interface, which must be used by the active observer according to the rules of the particular illusion world, that the communication structures of the simulation meet with the human senses. Thus, the interface in virtual reality has a more sustained function as the key to the digital artwork and it shapes both perception and dimensions of interaction. The observer, whom Davies refers to as the ‹immersant›, controls navigation through the virtual space by means of a lightweight vest filled with sensors. This has to be put on before the journey can begin; it tracks each breath and movement of the torso and relays this information to the software. Because this interface concept utilizes involuntary physical processes and habitual muscular movements, the observer unconsciously connects with the virtual space in a much more intense way than with a joystick or a mouse. The effect is a profound feeling of corporeal presence, which in the course of the ‹stay›


results in an emotional state that is enhanced still further by the music. Each zone has its own localized sound; in fact, the sound plays a decisive role in generating the feeling of presence.[27]

At first glance, Davies' most recent work, «Éphémère» (1998), appears to be the twin of «Osmose»: a virtual space that generates reactive image worlds in real time.[28] However, whereas «Osmose» was deeply embedded in a spiritual conception of nature, the image worlds of «Éphémère» include organs of the body, bones and the blood circulatory system. When asked, Davies says that «Éphémère» is inspired by an actual place in her native Quebec and, in a certain sense, it symbolizes a lament, an elegy, a remembrance space for the passing of nature as we have known it.

Inner distance

When actually immersed in a high-resolution, 360° illusion space such as «Osmose» or «Éphémère,» it is only with great difficulty that an observer can maintain any distance to the work or objectify it. It is almost

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