The Perfect Parlor

October 1st, 2002 - January 10th, 2003

Categories: MFA Thesis, VR Art


A Perfect Parlor explores how technology can augment human communication, interaction and perceptions when incorporated into personal, social and work spaces. It is a networked tele-immersive virtual environment, where people from around the world can come together in a shared space to talk, play and perform. The Victorian parlor, a metaphor of global socialization is the setting for this virtual experience. Although the historic “parlor” has come and gone from our homes, the role it has served in Victorian culture can be used as a model in our current techno-invested culture.

This project directly addresses a particular concern in the art world that new media artists are constantly confronting - “art” is “entertainment”, and therefore, unsuitable for critical discussions. The Perfect Parlor is neither art nor entertainment, but rather simply an opportunity for experience. It attempts to create a medium - specifically a communications medium, where anyone can have meaningful experiences. It is a place for infinite stories, and each story having multiple endings. It is not a static experience for each person to consistently recycle the same perspective. Instead it is a space for individuals to create meaningful life experiences and perpetuate their own personal opinions.

Imagine an immersive room surrounded by networked screens and walls with shared images, text, video and audio. The space is generally intended for individuals and small groups to connect to other people in remote locations and to facilitate communicate with each other in virtual spaces. Communities are formed not based on traditional happenstances such as physical proximity, but more out of similar concerns and interests.

This is the basis on which The Perfect Parlor virtual experience is created.