Brenda Laurel, Rachel Strickland
Brief description of the work:
Virtual Reality Environment
Materials, dimensions, duration:
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):
1992, Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada
Audience information (size, mode of participation):
Virtual Reality Environment where two people could play simultaneously (see below ). People were able to walk about, speak, and use both hands to touch and move virtual objects.
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Produced by Interval Research Corporation and The Banff Centre for The Performing Arts, and directed by Brenda Laurel and Rachel Strickland. Collaborators: John Harrison, Rob Tow, Michael Naimark, Russell Zeidner
Floorplan, scheme:

Map of Placeholder
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Immersive play; interplay and fusion between a participant's physical presence and a perceived reality (projected images and sounds); awareness of illusion of consciousness and limitation of perception
Further context:

Placeholder's primary representational mode was acoustic, using spatialized audio, however video and photography was also used. Audio and visual were taken from locations in the vicinity of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

"Four animated spirit critters - Spider, Snake, Fish, and Crow - inhabited this virtual world. The characters were based on "folk stories and rock art [and] were represented as two-dimensional petroglyphs. When a participant intersected with a petroglyph, it became a "smart costume", altering the voice, appearance, and sensory-motor characteristics of its wearer." Due to time constraints the visual implications of becoming one of the critters (e.g. blurred vision or infrared vision) remained underdeveloped.

"Objects called "voiceholders" allowed participants to record and hear fragements of stories within the environments. Transport among environments was represented by a network of spiral-shaped 'portals'."