Dwelling
Interactive Virtual Environment Installation, 1997
by Kathleen Ruz


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Dwelling, an interactive multimedia installation, explores emotional survival. Notions about space and time are examined through the passage of the viewer into individual, isolated, symbolic archetypes from dream imagery and the psyche. What is the difference between being somewhere and thinking of being in that same place? What is the difference between real artificial flowers or fireplaces and simulations of them? A real sexual experience or a fantasy or dream of one?

Through direct real time interaction in the projected spatial environment, the viewer/participant can enter distinct scenarios. A sense of illusionistic space is created out of emptiness. Within each of these passages are objects which contain other objects or movies which are mapped onto their surfaces. These symbolic juxtapositions and the loss of scale impart various new meanings to ordinary objects and abstract shapes.

No longer a passive bystander, the observer is a direct and integral part of the work. To be lost in a simulation is to believe or be caught in its illusionistic power - a testimony or invitation to question long held beliefs about consciousness, reality, and perception. We are deceived by our habits of consciousness, our perceptions are eclipsed. Things accepted as true (expectations, hopes, and prospects) are actually false or unreal. Finally, we dwell in a house of cards.