"Imaging Beijing" is the latest installment of "Imaging Place", a place-based, virtual reality project that combines panoramic photography, digital video, and virtual worlds to investigate and document situations where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. The goal of the project is to develop the technologies, the methodology and the content for truly immersive and navigable narrative, based in real places. When a denizen of Second Life first arrives at "Imaging Beijing," he, she or it can walk over a satellite image of central Beijing where they will find a networks of nodes constructed of primitive spherical geometry with panoramic photographs texture mapped to the interior. The avatar can walk to the center at one of these nodes and use a first person perspective to view the image, giving the user the sensation of being immersed in the location. Streaming audio is localized to individual nodes providing narrative content for the scene. This content includes stories of formative memory told by Chang, a resident of Beijing, who appear in the images. The work is projected nine by twelve feet in a darkened space with a pedestal and a mouse placed in the center of the installation enabling the audience to interact with it. A web-cam captures live video of the user and transmits it to the head of an exhibition avatar. Dated links in the virtual space launch a browser, which opens a web journal of the "Imaging Beijing" field research.
Teleport to Imaging Beijing in Second Life.