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Rubix_Virtual[ly] impossible architecture

Part 2 Project 2013
Chris Kelly
University of Greenwich London UK
The project was conceived as a complementary exercise to a written thesis that explores the way in which virtual environments could be deployed within the physical world to expand or compress space. The project investigated existing research in neuroscience, psychology and philosophy to identify gaps in our perception that lead to a contradiction between our perception and reality. It was found that our perception of distance and orientation is incredibly malleable and can be manipulated by overlaying virtual information on the physical world. This effect creates a TARDIS space which allows vast expanses of virtual worlds to be explored within a small physical space without ever reaching the limits of that space.

The aim of the rubix project was to develop an animation that described a conceptual tool for deploying these malleable virtual environments that could be used by their creators to shift space around us. In the animation the initial Escher-esque space is a representation of our perceptual system where huge amounts of information arrive in the brain from multiple streams. The process of perception involves the brain selecting and rejecting contradicting pieces of information leading to a perception of reality that only gives us glimpses into the world we are in. The animation represents a journey through the chosen site that was a stretch of the Docklands Light Railway between Beckton and East India stations. The virtual journey is compressed into 5 minutes using transitional spaces that enclose the explorer whilst the environment shifts around them. The development of products such as Google Glass and bionic contact lenses mean it is becoming increasingly possible to overlay virtual information on the physical world. In the future this information could be overlaid so subtly and convincingly that it is possible that distance and space will become increasingly malleable and cavernous virtual spaces could exist within a small physical space, with Doctor Who's TARDIS becoming a perceived reality.

Chris Kelly


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