Developers: Margaret Watson, Eric Butkus
Liquid Meditation is a narrative virtual environment based on nature, philosophy and architecture. Constructed as a place of discovery, it was intended to offer individual investigation rather than guidance. Within the space, an immersant is given the opportunity to explore abstract water reflections. Exploration occurs within a unique architecture that structures a narrative philosophy, as well as the images of reflection. As the immersant journeys through the structure, meditative experiences within the environment foretell the upcoming revelation. Capacity to conclude the narrative is solely based on individual experience.
In Liquid Meditation, the reflective fountain serves as the chaotic center of the narrative. Creating life from static images of reflection, it continually pieces together reality. The images on the walls of the surrounding architecture can be alternately viewed within its flowing structure. The immersant’s physical closeness to one of these reflections changes the image in the fountain. Movement around the fountain changes the viewing perspective of reconstruction.
The water reflections, within the towers, animate in response to the presence of the immersant. They are abstracted in various degrees of depth, existing in the form of flowing, outward flowing and outward encompassing images. The reflections symbolize various levels of meditation. The deepest reflections dissolve into worlds created from themselves. The worlds serve as signs of meditative experience that foretell the conclusion of the narrative through navigational and structural elements. Two of the environments reflect the narrative architecture. The other two reflect the fountain contained within the structure. Each of the four environments progressively change in navigation to foretell the conclusion of the narrative.
The sound for the environment is based on recordings of natural water sounds. Designed to reflect the flowing nature of the graphics, the soundscape was created to dissolve in and out in response to the immersant’s position within the space.
The navigation of Liquid Meditation allows the immersant to freely explore and move within the space. As in the real world, gravity exists. So, in moments of haste, an immersant may fall from the architecture. Only the walls provide security in the journey upward. Once the highest tower is reached, flight can be attained if the immersant courageously makes a decision to step off of the architecture. At that point, all navigational boundaries are removed.
The navigation also symbolizes the work and dedication needed to realize the subconscious. Falling from the architecture represents laziness or resistance to awareness. As in reality, laziness occurs in the form of repetitive chances to learn the same lesson. Without self-awareness and conscious realization, stagnation will continue to trap an individual. Flight is representative of attaining awareness and change. Growth allows evolution and the ability to look back at the past and towards the future with a new perspective. The same is experienced at the end of the virtual narrative.
Date: October 1, 1996 - May 1, 1997