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forum::für::umläute nicole pruckermayr & IOhannes m zmölnig

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Race the Net

nap+forum::für::umläute 2006

Race the Net

This work is based on the former work Surf the Net/Row the Net, which dealt with human-comuter interfaces and interaction as well as shoreless navigation. However, this time the focus is not on physical / haptic engagement of the user but on tempo. “Row the Net” enacted an accelerated virtual reality, that hardly allowed to access a certain desired information. In “Race the Net” accessing information has become nearly impossible. In “Row the Net” one would move from one server to another with a realistic notion of speed, by devoting physical labor needed to row, e.g. across the Atlantic. By contrast, “Race the Net” is hyperspeed and exposes a degree of acceleration, that actively prohibits the user from intentionally gathering information. At least it requires a very special handling of the medium, in order to be able to select information. Like every skill, this one has to be acquired first. Acceleration in our real-world environment has changed our viewing patterns. This makes it possible to recognize our surroundings even if we are in a fast moving train. Humans have changed in a manner that allows them to select important information, despite of speed-induced obfuscation of reality. This acquired skill should now be used and tested in a virtual reality. How do I find my way in this world? which parameters guide my orientation when I shift gears? How fast can human habits and viewing patterns adapt? The user is confronted with a (non-euclidean) three-dimensional representation that connects worlds (webpages) in space via travelling routes. These connections correspond to hyperlinks. The webpages constitute the various planets of a parallel universe. New roles are assigned to the route between these information islands that transforms the annoying standby time when waiting for a new website to show up into the main point of interest when “surfing the net”. The traditional two-dimensional, sequential view on the “internet” as a series of websites becomes an at-least three dimenstional world. This allows for a better mapping of a network structure with many parallel nodes, thus depicting the internet with a more relational conception of space than usual. “Race the Net” provides a visualisation of the browse history, that allows the user to identify the development of parallel universes. The virtual space becomes concrete and tangible by experiencing the data-space and its extent.

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