Using 2D photography as a 3D constructional tool within the second life environment
Germen, Murat (2009) Using 2D photography as a 3D constructional tool within the second life environment. In: ISEA 2009 - International Symposium on Electronic Art, Belfast, Ireland (Accepted/In Press)
Official URL: http://www.isea2009.org
As digital photography became more accepted, influential and widespread, artists / designers started to take advantage of photos to create novel 2D / 3D entities. Panoramic photography, photo-mosaics, stop-motion studies are examples of 2D creations using numerous photographs. Microsoft’s Photosynth, PhotoModeler, DigiCad, ImageModeler are some software where one can employ photographs to create 3D scenes and environments. Photography is a powerful 2D representation tool to document 3D volumes like architecture. It is possible to manipulate photos with 2D tools like Photoshop in order to suggest new 3D re/formations, re/interpret architecture. One can alternatively use 2D textures as mappings to create realistic 3D model renderings. My project is a combination of these two approaches: Photographing architecture, turning the resulting photos into transparent PNGs and then mapping these photos onto 3D volumes in order to create a “new” architecture from an “existing” architecture… There were various offline and online 3D environment alternatives at which I could carry this experimentation out. Second Life (SL) was the one that I selected among these since I thought it had a powerful 3D construction interface. More importantly, SL is a global(ized) milieu on which you can have people from all over the world try your 3D creation interactively. One of the advantages of using photographs to create architecture is that your photo pool can easily be composed of visuals from various cultures and you may end up using an amalgam of visuals from, say, two supposedly “opposite” cultures. This possibility reminds the peaceful collaboration of musicians from different cultures to create a unique music. In addition, this act can also be taken as a migration of media through appropriation of photography for 3D volume creation and re/presentation. At this point, we are talking about a double representation, since photography is a representation tool already and it gains another representational dimension when it is re-mapped onto 3D volumes for the construction of an alternative reality. This sort of constitution of space involving multiple incompatible perspectives to be present in photos to be used, can be likened to Ottoman miniatures where various conflicting perspectives can co-exist. This diversity of perspectives takes us to the idea of “perspectivism” which, after Wikipedia, is “the philosophical view developed by Friedrich Nietzsche that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives which determine any possible judgment of truth or value that we may make; this implies that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively ‘true’.” If we take this a little bit further, there is no strictly objective “reality” to be re/presented, but instead, the detailed depiction of our personal perception is closer to reality since it describes a particular experience (which is to be different for every individual). This paper concentrates on using a representation tool (photography) to construct a 3D space (architecture) within a virtual 3D environment (Second Life). During the process; the concepts of perception, reality, cultural context, re/presentation and appropriation will be examined. Keywords: Photography, re/construction, construct, perception, Second Life, reality, virtual reality, cultural context, re/presentation, appropriation, metaverse, virtual architecture, depiction, perpectivism, Ottoman miniatures, experience.
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