|Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.|
real time the user's outlines into three-dimensional representations, which the artist's concept envisages will be seen thousands of kilometers away in polysensorially expanded image space. Worlds of computer images or navigation interfaces for orientation do not exist in «Traces.» Instead, users interact with gauzy traces of light, which represent the dynamics and volumes of human bodies. Penny's idea is that «interactions will take the form of real-time collaboration sculpturing with light, created through dancing with telematic partners.» The technical goal is to get away from all traditional forms of interfaces and visual displays. «Traces» dispenses with HMDs, trackers, joysticks and screens; nor does it use graphic menus or icons. The aesthetic goal is to focus user's attention on how their bodies feel for it is the body's movements that generate the real-time graphics and the sound. «Traces» formulates for the first time the experience of interacting with vestiges of avatars, or remote bodies: the appearance of the ‹dispersed body,› as introduced by the debate on telepresence. In this way it combines digital image art with elements from the genres of sculpture and scenography.
Artists like Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss in «Murmuring Fields» (1998–1999) are currently working to enhance the vision of the ‹natural interface› through unobtrusively connecting the user with the image worlds as they come into being. In this context, there is a new and important role for the theremine, a Russian invention that dates from the early twentieth century. Plans exist for the future to use a theremine to relay images—Penny's solution was to use a camera detection system. Thus the vision of a ‹seeing CAVE,› which can scan the visitor's contours exactly and reconstitute the highly complex images in a different location, appears to be within reach.
The old dream of cinema, to put the audience immersively in the picture, is formulated most sophisticatedly in Penny's concept. He reflects in a masterly way the state of the art in illusion techniques and, as an artist-engineer with humor, has created image machinery that plays ironically with modern-day myths. Here there is an undercurrent of McLuhan's idea of «the extensions of man» and the hope, which is basically a religious one, of being able to leave one's body. Through links to any number of robots or