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Real-Time Virtual Environment

Here, Virtual Reality technology is used to situate the viewer inside the space depicted in a painting. When we see a painting of a space we can imagine how it might be to experience and inhabit that space. With VR technology it is possible to construct and enter the space depicted in the image.

The subject of this research experiment was Réné Magrittes' Le Mouvement Perpetuel (Perpetual motion) from 1935. The painting depicts an area of water which reflects the environment and as such it is one of a number of experiments I carried out that formlate a process for simulating reflection in virtual space. To create the reflection in the digital environment, the space is duplicated, reversed and turned upside down meaning the reflection is as real as the rest of the space.

I have a research interest in the spaces and architectures represented in media, in particular film, painting and drawing. It is not necessary to be present in, or to touch a particular space in order for us to engage with it in a meaningful way, it is, even in its digital state, just like a daydream - still a 'lived space'.

Considering the space depicted in media is of interest to a number of theorists and practitioners, for example, Juhani Pallasmaa in his book The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema (Rakennustieto 1999).


+ The world and its reflection: the digital environment depicted in Magritte's Le Mouvement Perpetuel from 1935


+ Above Left: An image of Rene Magrittes', Le Mouvement Perpetuel from 1935
+ Above Right: Characters are hard to do convincingly in VR, so the leopard print mankini man had to go.
+ Lower Left: with the virtual environment it is possible to go into the water and enter the reflection.
+ Lower Right: In the virtual environment we can see from all sides.