Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák - Márton Fernezelyi

Interactive VR Installation, 1998/2002

The project „Promenade" intends to examine the connections between „real" and virtual space, „real movement" and the illusion of motion. Using the handheld navigation device the visitor can explore virtual rooms by taking a walk in the real space of the exhibition room. The unusual spatial illusions displayed in the halls of Promenade are addressing the ambigous relations between the three dimensional space and its two dimensional representation as perceived from a dynamic, moving viewpoint.

The interface of Promenade is an ultrasonic position tracker built into a torch: the position measured by the tracker directs the position of the viewpoint in the virtual space. By walking in the exhibition room while holding the navigation-device the visitor can explore the dynamically changing virtual space, in which the geometry of the scene is continuously being modified according to the viewer’s motion. By approaching the projection screen (virtually stepping through the picture) the visitor can step into a new space: in a certain distance the virtual world will automatically switch to the next room, where other perspective-tricks await the visitor.

A new, more spectacular stereoscopic version of Promenade has been realized in 2002, allowing a much more immersive experience for the visitors than the original one.

Technically speaking the immersive enviroment is achieved by using passive stereo projection: two data beams equipped with polarization-filters are projecting the image of the virtual space - rendered in real time - from two different viewpoints corresponding to the position of the human eyes. The visitors can enjoy the realistic spatial illusion by taking disposable 3D spectacles, containing a vertical and a horizontal polarization filter for each eye, thus admitting only the light from the corresponding projector.