TERESA WENNBERG: the parallel dimension

Please click on the images to view them in bigger size. Copyright art and photos © 1997-2001 Teresa Wennberg


(1 9 9 8)

A Virtual Reality piece for a VR environment

Teresa Wennberg is a video and computer artist who has used new technology in her work since the 1980s. In 1998, she was the first visual artist to be invited to The Center for Parallel Computers (PDC) at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, with the proposition to create a virtual reality piece for their six-sided "VR-Cube".

In her VR piece, The Parallel Dimension, Teresa Wennberg based her work concept on a realistic form language combined with highly sophisticated texture maps. There is a clear relation to her earlier works in 2- and 3-dimensional computer animation with interpolated forms, transparencies and elaborate surfaces, only this time we can actually move around in their universe.

To visit a six sided VR environment and to be totally enclosed in virtual space was a challenge to confront. Here, the artist let the double experience of space strongly influence the whole piece. The concept of virtual space was used as a metaphor for the human body, with a "brain" and five different "body-parts" - each corresponding to an imaginary room. In each part, the confrontation with virtual space takes place through the construction of space itself: gigantic/ claustrofobic, vertical/horizontal, empty/full, animated/still, round/oval/square...
This can be quite provocative since the visitor is already standing in a closed environment.

The visit begins in the brain - The Brain Chamber - a huge reception room from which the five other parts can be reached through secret connections by nerves and veins. The name of each bodypart is a play with words for its virtual function: the Heart&Blood Room, the Breathing Cathedral, the Thought Cabinet, the Flesh Labyrinth and the Dream Cavern, some narrow and closed, some vast and inviting. In each part, the ambient experience is obviously quite different and each is accompanied by a specific soundscape. To leave a bodypart/world, one must find the hidden exit - an easy riddle.

The entire visit takes about 20 minutes, but can of course be much longer if the visitor so wishes.

In December 1998, The Parallel Dimension was inaugurated at the VR-Cube of KTH and shown to the public.

For this first version, the software used was Alias/Wavefront and the animations were calculated through Vega/Lynx.
The navigation was executed with a DataGlove.
The (interactive) sound effects were made by Peter Berggren.
All rights reserved.

©Teresa Wennberg 1998