UNFOLDING SPACE is a virtual reality environment that explores higher dimensional navigation on a grid structure linked to gesture. This structure tracks a flexible space that expands, collapses and self-intersects into concave and convex configurations, depending on the body movements of the person linked to it.
The experience cycles through color, like the times of the day, atmospheric conditions, seasons or eras, seeking to internalize the sublime in the evolving forms and sounds we perceive, from mountains to ocean waves, which occur at contrasting speeds, yet move, influenced by several -and sometimes opposing- dynamic forces.
To accomplish this, the tridimensional shadow of a grid of polytopes , in this case, tesseracts is drawn in virtual reality (stereo projection with real-time computer graphics) tessellating space with textures attached to its surfaces. The result is a structure that turns inside out as the grid is rotated in four dimensions. The perspective projection of the virtual world causes the surface textures to shrink according to distance, as well as more clearly show the surfaces' orientation.
As in the natural world, we can use the pattern and form of what we see for measurement and continuity. The resulting experience of moving through the projections of a higher dimensional environment can be compared to a walk through the forest, at the precise moment when the light causes the foliage and the shadows of the trees to merge into a unified pattern.
In the natural world, we are used to images that persist beyond their three dimensions when they overlap through reflections, shadows or imprints. Such phenomena allow us to understand the world of dynamic spatial relationships we live in. Interaction with a similarly complex four dimensional structure is facilitated by using body motion. The limbs of our bodies work as a whole but are capable of moving independently. Therefore, the degrees of freedom in an arm are used to establish the projection of a 4D rotation plane, and relate the resulting form to the natural experience and intention of the person.
Moving the grid with our body makes sense because the body has very strong visual memory which we use to do all we know, such as sitting on a chair, grabbing hold of things, or playing ball. The shadow of a tesseract grid can then be maneuvered to hide and reveal the surfaces of the structure while maintaining the coherence of a labyrinth. This in turn results in a kaleidoscopic effect where the alignment of the faces of the tesseracts alter the shape of the texture pattern. The pattern sequence works as stepping stones or highlights of navigation, which is then internalized like a dance, and further engage us to maneuver space in order to know and experience. Ultimately, the environment becomes an adaptive structure tied to the motion of body joints, as if space was being worn by the person.
On a conceptual level, UNFOLDING SPACE is the realization of a labyrinth which may evoke being trapped, having assumed one knew the way out before entering. Working in Virtual Reality allowed me to transform such space into a flexible world where corridors open up depending on how we move, so the movement itself becomes the graphic element, as well as the key to find our way.
what and whatnot
Unlike other media, UNFOLDING SPACE uses Virtual Reality, which is real-time computer graphics that track the user's motion to position him/her in a constructed space. Virtual Reality is not about pushing buttons to trigger a predefined animation, but a direct visual response to the user's location and motion, drawn in real-time. Therefore, we are invited to explore through movement, slowing down until we find our pace.
UNFOLDING SPACE does not use video. All you see is drawn from a computer. It is not an installation either, because it does not use any tangible objects (besides the computer, the tracking system, and the screen, which are not metaphorical as such), and it does not represent a situation or a space, but it is a situation and a space (albeit abstract) which reacts to the user.
I have become aware of design and deep spatial relationships while studying design at architecture school, where I started thinking on how patterns can be arranged into paths. Later on, while in graduate school, I started designing labyrinthine rough vr landscapes, by dividing panoramas into time based segments, framing images on a sequence like in film. I decided to study at evl to continue this work. The projects I have experimented with since then include a consecutive nested version of the five platonic solids which can be rotated independently when moving inside or out of them. A subsequent exercise piece is a "walkable" version of the moebius stripe. I have also collaborated with Byungil Jeong on the design and implementation of a sculptural chasing game , and with Gideon Goldman, on a solar exploration mobile .