The power and universality of digital and virtual technologies no longer need to be proved. The Web is turning into the meta-media, an ubiquitous, integral crossroads. Now that the time of pioneers and prophets is over, it is time for mastery: political, cultural, social and creative mastery. We must lay the bases for the cyber-civilization which is about to be born. The task is a difficult one. We must pool our strengths to buffer and temper the inevitable chaos of the maelstrom currently being provoked by a generalized short circuit.
We must be prepared to found a new sociability and a new virtual city, where common action will take on new forms of efficiency.
Yet again, we must proclaim the absolute, vital importance of good old <<content>>.
The U.S. Congress is putting all its archives online. Museums and libraries are beginning to meet public demand all over the world.
But first and foremost, there is one thing that should be quite clear: we are living a change of era. Digitization is the alphabet of the world,
and Internet is a universal printing press.
The Web has become a kind of world-town. A place where we work, loiter, and meet up with others. We are going to have to inhabit this town and make it human, livable, and graspable for the senses. Global social bonds must be created worldwide, at the same time as local social links are disintegrating.
Whence our theme for imagina 97: <<metaverses>>.
Virtual 3D communities are becoming orga-nized and civilized. We work there, as members of multiple <<invisible colleges>>. We are learning to navigate in landscapes of data, universes of symbols, galaxies of mobile <<links>>. In these endless, fluid environments, we humans are constantly seeking our share, as always. Humans are becoming hybridized with machines and networks, because we think we are in control. We are constantly in pursuit of the new. We are seduced by unimaginable, subtle effects, because we think we recognize them. We wish to invent new arts, networked creatures. Having tamed photons and subjugated electrons by the sheer force of language and the prescience of vision, mankind is preparing for the advent of the next century.
Imagina Programme Chairman
To tell or to act, that used to be the question. These days,
however,everything is converging.The Web mingles navigation and
television, memory and real time, Java and Quick Time VR, tortuous
stories and enthralling interactions.
Now all we have to do is to invent a new public, unleash new authors, reveal new ways of living the image and time.
Happy games mean many players. The latest consoles offer stunning 3D performance and, above all, uniquitous communication.They are becoming points of virtual presence for players all over the planet. They inhabit the metaverses where tomorrow's society is surely in the making.
In the early days of pioneers like Gouraud, we were intent on modeling faces facet by facet. Now reality is being made to serve virtuality. We morph and we age, interpolate and integrate, turning space and time into a kind of docile paste, where every pixel is ready to obey. The image is becoming the model.
From Pinocchio to Kabuki, movement constantly remains a
How can we give life to wooden puppets, or meaning to masks?
Dancing and walking, smiling and gracefulness are the ultimate boundaries of virtual existence. Animation research is striving to transcend the nature of movement.
Data landscapes, cyberspace oceans, infinite depths of memories are like continents to be explored, colonized, civilized. Metanavigation techniques and 3D display tools can help us to enhance the mapping of our own knowledge.
Special effects are the new heros and the new stars. They stun cinema publics, and reinvent or re-enchant the world. But there are other impalpable effects, which are humble and efficient; these subtle effects serve art and meaning. The virtual realm hovers between eye and screen.
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