Project Description

Imaging Belfast is an immersive, user activated art installation and virtual environment, created on location along the Peace Line, a barrier that separates the Protestant and Catholic communities of West Belfast in Northern Ireland created by John Craig Freeman with Danny Burke and theory by Gregory L. Ulmer.

Imaging Belfast is the latest installment of Imaging Place, a place-based virtual reality project that combines panoramic video, and three-dimensional virtual worlds to document situations where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. The goal of the project is to develop the technologies, the methodology and the content for truly immersive and navigable art form, based in real places around the world.

Projected in a darkened space, the project allows the audience to explore a virtual world made up of a network of spheres with panoramic video projected in the interiors. The user can navigate, using a simple foot peddle interface, to the center of one of these spheres and use a first person perspective to view the video from all directions, giving the user the sensation of being at the actual location. The video is shot on location using a specially designed panoramic lens system. The story of the place unfolds as the user explores the space. Although the work addresses the social, historical and political situation unfolding at the site, the narrative content largely consists of the recollection of formative memory by the residents of the place. The result is a kind of multidimensional, inhabitable memory map.

The “Imaging Place” project has been ongoing since 1997 and includes hundreds of individual locations and hours of content from New York, Beijing, Taipei, São Paulo, British Columbia, Warsaw, the U.S./Mexico Border, Miami, Kaliningrad, Niagara, New England, Appalachia, and now Belfast.

Versions of the “Imaging Place” project have been exhibited around the world including at Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing, the Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich, Eyebeam in New York City, Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki (the national gallery of Warsaw), Kaliningrad Branch of the National Center for Contemporary Arts in Russia, Art Basel Miami, Ciberart Bilbao and the Girona Video and Digital Arts Festival in Spain, La Biblioteca National in Havana, the Contemporary Art Center in Atlanta, the Nickle Arts Museum in Calgary, the Center for Experimental and Perceptual Art (CEPA) in Buffalo, Art interactive, Mobius and Studio Soto in Boston. “Imaging Place” projects have been commissioned by Turbulence.org, the Puffin Foundation, the GUNK Foundation and the LEF Foundation.

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