Thursday, 23 July 2009

The definition of a virtual space for collaboration and research – The Delphus 3.0 platform

In the last four years, the research group of the Athens School of Fine Arts Multimedia-Hypermedia Laboratory has been working jointly with the other universities on the creation of a digital environment for artistic collaboration, creation and research.

Previous attempts (like, the Without Words (, the Delphous 1.0 (, the MySquare (, and now the InBetween ( and the Delphous 3.0 were initiated by our need to overcome reality imitation (like e.g. in Second Life) and create new relationships and expressive means in the digital space.

In previous attempts, despite the fact that we rejected social and ethical conventions, such as the language we still kept some of the fundamental physical principles of the real world (like ground, gravity, Euclidean geometry), and in some cases expressive tools borrowed by traditional Arts (e.g. painting, cinema) and computer games.

This year, triggered by our need to discover a new, autonomous language of expressing concepts in the digital space – an indeed ambitious goal – we are trying to completely degrade both the space and our thoughts, and come out with basic elements (concepts, audiovisual materials, algorithms) and basic structures (like in the molecules) that can be integrated in order to give an self-evolving environment.

We have been investigating the term ontology both from its philosophical perspective, and the engineering one, as a formal structure for describing concepts. We are also examining self-organized topological systems (e.g. and particle systems that have been proposed for various space navigation applications.

Within this context, the contribution of the Greek working group is the proposal of a hierarchical structure of analyzing and formally describing concepts, as well as the deconstruction of a set of conceptual references to audiovisual elements (e.g. 3D shapes, videos, images, texts) which were constructed by the students and interlinked into a 3D space to form more complex conceptual objects. This is a very painstaking research issue that requires thorough study – at least - at a doctorate level. It was impossible to cover this topic within the ten days of the seminar, but we have achieved to search, discuss, exchange views, and propose a little piece that has already raised many research issues for the future.

The methodology that we adopted to approach this issue was based on

-theoretical discussions

-imprint of conceptual elements in a hierarchical structure (forming arbitrary vocabularies)

-performances in space and techniques for feeling the space, objects and interaction

-constructions of conceptual elements and structures with plasteline

-construction of 3D shapes, and audiovisual elements constituting the conceptual objects and their relations

-experimentation in the virtual space

Voula Zoi

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