“Crossings” (1995), a project investigating the potential of landscape architecture using the Internet, created by Stacey Spiegel and Rodney Hoinkes.
It explored the boundaries of VR representation techniques and the potential of 3D interactivity and navigation on the World Wide Web.
As an artwork crafted from the software tool set called ‘Polytrim’ developed at the Centre for Landscape Research of the University of Toronto, this project was first realized as part of the artist in residence program. It achieves a compelling dynamic immersive landscape where the terrain is shaped from information structures, which could be seen as an evolutionary step that extends painting beyond cinema, weaving the desire for the merging of content and information to the artistic potential of a real time interactive virtual environment.
While the computational world has mechanized nature into a transcribable format, Crossings has focused on the history of landscape painting as the embodiment of human experience and emotion. By expressing the metaphoric power of landscape in a virtual environment as a non-hierarchical dynamic space, Crossings reasserts that art is not merely transcriptive in the sense of conveying information, but is also a transformative process. When one is navigating the immersive environment of Crossings, the traditional distinction between reality and virtuality disappears and the artificial dualism of information and sensation is eliminated. This happens through the interactive unfolding of a personal narrative that occurs when one navigates the live links to the WWW that occupy the formal pictorial space.