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Invisible, Imagined and Conceptual Mazes

edited June 2006 in Simulacra
imageJeppe Hein has created a project called Invisible Maze that is presented inside a large open chamber.

Visitors are given digital headphones equipped with infrared detectors "operated by infrared rays" that inform the visitor when he or she has "bumped into" one of the invisible walls.

On successive days, the maze is changed, encouraging repeat visits. The artist has chosen a set of mazes ranging from the medieval labyrinth at the cathedral at Chartres to Pac-Man.

The labyrinth at Chartre was itself really seen as a sort of virtual journey:
    The labyrinth at Chartres was built around 1200 and is laid into the floor in a style sometimes referred to as a pavement maze. The original center piece has been removed and other areas of the labyrinth have been restored.
    This labyrinth was meant to be walked but is reported to be infrequently used today. In the past it could be walked as a pilgrimage and/or for repentance. As a pilgrimage it was a questing, searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance the pilgrims would walk on their knees. Sometimes this eleven-circuit labyrinth would serve as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and as a result came to be called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem. - (From The Chartres Labyrinth)
The Star Trek holodeck is a virtual environment that provides infinitely varied participatory, interactive entertainment in a very small space. On Federation starships, stressed crewmembers need to have some sort of outlet for exercise and entertainment:

image

If you are interested in some of the "visible" versions of the Star Trek Holokeck that are now available, see Holo-Dek - A Unique Real-World Virtual Venue and the VirtuSphere Immersive Virtual Reality "hamster ball". Read more about the Invisible Maze at ArtDaily via we-make-money-not-art.

- Extract from Invisible Maze Conceptual Holodek at Technovelgy
I am reminded somewhat of the movie Cube with its transcendental-maze qualities, or the recent TV extravaganza Lost, which provides its entertainment in the form of a never ending series of twists, turns, dead ends and cliff-hangers which trap the audience in equal measure to the inhabitants of its fictional island. The Maze is simple in its construction, yet endlessly realisable in its exploration.

What is it about the Maze which so fascinates us?

Comments

  • The internet is certainly the most complex labyrinth ever devised by man. Here’s a great quote from Philip Ball’s book “Critical Mass” about the maze-like complexity of the Web:
    “Mapping the WWW is like mapping a maze. If you could rise above the maze in a balloon, the task would be easy: you would simply draw what you saw laid out below you. But there is no balloon that will give us a bird’s-eye view of the WWW, because it exists only in cyber-space – it corresponds to no physical structure we can look at. So we have to do just what we would to map out the maze from the ground: we must enter it and keep track of where it takes us. What a strange contrivance it is that we have made for ourselves: we have built it, but we cannot easily tell exactly what is we have built.”
    He also states that “It has been estimated that the best search engines reach only about 30 per cent of the entire indexable Web, and that some of them trawl through only 3 per cent”. Also, over several million pages are added every day to the ‘net… talk about your Huge Entities, eh? Check out this website:

    http://www.cybergeography.org/atlas/topology.html

    I particularly like this map… http://www.cybergeography.org/atlas/walrus1_large.gif

    Immense, hyper-organised stuff.
  • Beautiful stuff!
  • I don't think the internets are a maze exactly. A maze has a goal.

    The web is just a big, tangly, virtual space. Like Brer Rabbit's briar patch, but not real.
  • edited July 2006
    The internet has personalised goals. We explore the labyrinths of the net link by link, attempting to find information that is useful to us, either reaching a dead end and having to return to the way we came, or finding what we're looking for.

    The first virtual maps of the net were made by sending a robot into the Web. It was a computer program which was instructed to enter a web site and follow all the hyperlinks, navigating through it in the same way we would explore a maze, keeping a record of the number of outgoing hyperlinks from each page it encountered. Obviously it couldn't explore the billions of pages on the net, but it was told to stay within the boundaries of a specific domain and make a map of that.
  • I hope the extent of bots which can map the net is extended to the biological realm.

    Imagine, you're sitting reading Huge Entity someday and suddenly become aware of an AI algorythm cataloguing the contents of your brain.

    Map me that neural network!
  • Animal Controlled Computer Games, a graduation project by Wim van Eck, is a Pac-Man-style game in which humans can play against real insects. The project has been written up in a short paper submitted to the 2006 International Conference on Entertainment.

    Pac-Man vs Insects
    Most computer games make use of pre-programmed behaviors, and are limited to what their programmers have created. As van Eck puts it "Donkey Kong will never get tired of throwing heavy barrels at you, or strain a muscle, or get hungry and just eat the princess. After playing a computer game for some time, you know what you can expect from it."

    The goal of his project was to center the action in a computer game around the unpredictability of an animal. Is it possible to replace code with creatures? Can a person play against an animal in a computer game? - full article here
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