Virtually Flat 3D, 2009
Single channel
4:3 video
stereo sound
05:15 minutes
Design and camera: John Derrick and Daniel Mounsey
Lisa Dethridge produces web-based characters and environments using digitally-animated, 3D graphics.  Within the colourful virtual world of Second Life, she uses “avatars” to represent users who log on to inhabit and explore a different reality.  Virtual worlds allow us to reflect upon the connection between the author, the characters and the viewers who are each active inside the virtual space.  As in all forms of authorship, artfully designed characters bring the audience into confrontation with self and other.  In Second Life however, the user can design their own avatar and control her actions and story.  In Second Life, the avatar can even fly.  So the virtual world provides an ironic mirror for action and behaviour in real life. 
The insights we gain from exploring the “disconnect” between real and virtual worlds can range from the delusional to the sublime.  How do we respond to avatars and to multiple versions of self and others that are found in such worlds?  Virtually Flat 3D video documents a Second Life environment Dethridge developed with John Derrick for the Dark Luminance exhibition in New York 2008.  Larger questions here concern optics, haptics and the construction of pictorial space.
In Seeing to a Distancewe play-back sophisticated 3D graphics over a single channel monitor and create a kind of time warp.  The quality of the colours, movements and textures flattens out and drops back into primitive 2D format.  In a single-channel environment, the images become clunky and less detailed.  Instead of watching futuristic, computer-generated pictures, we seem to be watching strange hieroglyphics from another time or even another planet.

© All images copyright and courtesy of the artists