Realtime 3d multi-user virtual environments as a post-convergent medium

Nash, A 2010, Realtime 3d multi-user virtual environments as a post-convergent medium, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communications, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Realtime 3d multi-user virtual environments as a post-convergent medium
Author(s) Nash, A
Year 2010
Abstract This thesis argues that realtime 3D Multi-User Virtual Environments (RT3D MUVEs) can be thought of as post-convergent in both technical and conceptual terms. As a product of its fundamental technical make-up, the MUVE as a medium is capable of containing, displaying, reconstituting and mixing all prior electronic media (e.g., realtime 3D, audio, video, networking, animation, etc.) as content; this process has been ably demonstrated by McLuhan (2001 8), among others. Conceptually, MUVES are post-convergent because they exist after the convergence of media, sometimes identified in the rubric “multimedia”, that occurred from the late twentieth, and early into the twenty-first, century. For example, the integration in mobile phones of web-based social networking tools is typical of multimedia convergence; a robust electronic device is presciently combined with a networking application, which consequently expands the possibilities and conceptual understanding of both. This multimedia convergence has led to a kind of creative practice within MUVEs marked by a conceptual approach to recombining media into a product that acknowledges these media sources, while forming a kind of meta-experience, or excess, of media only achievable within MUVEs. This goes beyond simple concepts of convergence to explore the intrinsic qualities of this new medium within which no single media-element has precedence over another, in principle.

In this vein, I present a series of art-works that demonstrate an attempt to identify the intrinsic qualities of such a post-convergent medium by proposing solutions that are not beholden to any of the individual recombined media. An iterative approach, in line with the tenets of action research, has been taken to ensure a systematic and documentable experimental process. Each work was constructed to examine, represent and/or exploit a quality intrinsic to realtime 3D MUVEs. In each case, the work was then evaluated and the results used to form the basis for the next work. Most of the works explicitly experiment with the interaction of sound, vision and user-led interactivity, exploring the notion of live performance and what that means in a digital, networked, archived environment that spans international time zones. In conclusion, I suggest that recognising and working with the intrinsic qualities of realtime 3D MUVEs necessitates dealing with their post-convergent nature. Chiefly, this means understanding a realtime 3D MUVE as a data-driven network of media-elements in an interdependent relationship with each other, where each element is necessarily modulated between data and display. These media-elements include, but are not limited to, sound, image, video, text, grammars of time-based media, the network, user interface and other human computer interface (HCI) considerations; social networking, databases, software-based algorithms, scripts, protocols and dedicated computing hardware etc. No single media-element necessarily takes precedence over any other; rather they combine and recombine in a dynamic manner to create a state of the art that can potentially lead to a user experience greater than the sum of all the media elements. The research is focused specifically on the area of art and performance.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communications
Keyword(s) realtime 3D Multi-User Virtual Environments (RT3D MUVEs)
Second Life
virtual art
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Created: Wed, 25 May 2011, 15:00:39 EST by Guy Aron
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