An immersive experience
for the 21st century


News
History
Hardware
         Panoscope360 – 18’
         Panoscope360 – 12’
         Panoscope360 – 09’
         Panoscope360 – 01’
Software :
         Catch&Run
         Where are You?
         The Visitor : Living by Numbers
         Panoscopic Journal
Contact

 

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News

World premiere of Catch&Run,
an immersive multiplayer game
for a Panoscope LAN

Wired’s NextFest06
Jarvits Center, Hall 3B, New York City
September 28 – October 1, 2006

A Panoscope LAN consists of networked immersive displays [www.panoscope360.com]
where visitors can play with each other in a shared environment. Catch&Run, the
featured program, recreates a children's game where the fox can eat the chicken, the
chicken can beat the snake and the snake can kill the fox. The terrain, an array of
vertically moving rooftops, can be altered in real time, at random, or by a waiting
audience trying to “help” players inside.

More info on Catch&Run

Play Catch&Run video demo (40 secs.)

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History

Laboratoire de muséographie, Université de Montréal, December 1999 :
First proof of concept for a single channel imersive projection system (reflexive Panoscope).
Play first prototype demo

Siggraph – Emerging Technology (New Orleans), July 2000:
First public demo of a single channel immersive display (reflexive Panoscope).

Play Siggraph2000 video

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, December 2000 :
World première of the Panoscopic Journal (reflexive Panoscope)

Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), August 2001 :
World première of The Visitor : Living by Numbers (reflexive Panoscope)
Play "The Visitor" video

Interaction 01 (Ogaki City, Japan), October 2001:
First public demo of the projective Panoscope 360° (12 feet in diameter)

featuring The Visitor: Living by Numbers

Society for Arts and Technology (Montreal), November 2004 :
First public demo of real-time 3D in the Panoscope 360° (18 feet in diameter)

Play video demo

Wired’s NextFest (Chicago), June 2005 :
World première of Where are You?.
Play NextFest05 video

Wired’s NextFest (New York), September 2006 :
World première of Catch&Run and first public demo of a Panoscope LAN
.

 

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Hardware

Panoscope 360°
A single channel immersive display for real-time 3D

The Panoscope 360° is a single channel immersive display composed of a large inverted dome, a hemispheric lens and projector, a computer and a surround sound system. From within, visitors can navigate in real-time in a virtual 3D world using a handheld 3-axis pointer/selector.

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Panoscope360 – 18’

Credits for the Panoscope360 -- 18':

Concept and design: Luc Courchesne
Additional design and fabrication: Sébastien Bire

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Panoscope360 – 12’

Credits for the Panoscope360 -- 12':

Concept and design: Luc Courchesne
Additional design and fabrication: Sébastien Bire

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Panoscope360 – 09’

Credits for the Panoscope360 -- 9':

Concept and design: Luc Courchesne
Additional design and fabrication: Sébastien Bire

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Panoscope360 – 01’

Credits for the Panoscope360 -- 1':

Concept and design: Luc Courchesne

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Software

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Catch&Run

Immersive online multiplayer game for Panoscope LAN.

A Panoscope LAN consists of networked immersive displays [www.panoscope360.com]
where visitors can play with each other in a shared environment. Catch&Run, the featured
program, recreates a children's game where the fox can eat the chicken, the chicken can
beat the snake and the snake can kill the fox. The terrain, an array of vertically moving
rooftops, can be altered in real time, at random, or by a waiting audience trying to “help”
players inside.

The hen gets the snake and fears the fox


The fox gets the hen and fears the snake


The snake gets the fox and fears the hen


Jump around platforms by pointing and clicking

Catching a participant gets you a point, falling off a platform costs you a point.




Omnidirectional pointer .

Art&D Laboratory (SAT, Montreal)


The Panoscope Lan and Catch&Run were created at the Art&D Laboratory in collaboration
with the Society for Arts and Technology, the Université de Montréal and Idéaction.

Our thanks to the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, the Natural Science and Engineering
Research Council, the Canada Arts Council, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec,
the Fonds québécois de recherche en société et culture and the Institut de design Montréal.

Credits for Catch&Run:

Game design: Luc Courchesne, Guillaume Langlois, Sylvain Pellan, François Vidis
Production: Luc Courchesne
Direction: Guillaume Langlois
3D modeling/animation: François Vidis, Sylvain Pellan
S
oundscape: Chris Wickett
Photo: Renaud Kasma

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Where are you?

An immersive existence simulator
and telepresence apparatus for the
Panoscope 360° (single channel
immersive display for real-time 3D)

By Luc Courchesne, 2005

Play video demo (4:15 minutes)


Where are you?
An immersive existence simulator and telepresence apparatus

In the featured work Where are you? visitors are invited to fly, as in dreams, through
a world of many dimensions, between past and future, light and darkness, the public and
private. The immersed visitors use a joystick to move in the X, Y and Z axis of an
information/experience space where scale matters.

At scale 0, the world looks like a simple XYZ grid defining the experience of the navigable
space. At scale +1, the world turns into an archive of pictures, sounds, texts and objects
(the author’s). Zooming out at scale +2, elements of this archive become particles in a
“molecular” world of self-organizing clouds of lights reminiscent of late 19th century
impressionistic views of the world and of a nascent abstraction. Zooming yet further out
at scale +3 reveals a sublime landscape of mountains and valleys in tune with the 18th
century idea of the picturesque.

At all these scales, visitors will encounter other inhabitants: live ones through telepresence
links (if activated), pre-recorded subjects in video windows and, ultimately, themselves
when hidden cameras transmit their own image in this constructed world. In Where are
you?
the subject (visitor, actor, protagonist) controls his/her position, the path and speed
of his/her journey and, more interestingly perhaps, the scale at which he/she is prepared
to “exist”.


Scale 0

Scale 0, accessible from scales +1 and +3 shows an infinite and navigable X, Y and Z grid
clearly identifying the viewer’s position and the axis of mobility. It serves as a neutral
calibration space for both the system and visitors.

Scale +1

The author’s archive is composed of clusters of elements (images, sounds, texts and objects)
organized within an infinite X, Y and Z structure. Going down (Y-) sinks visitors into increasingly
personal events, going up (Y+) connects to corresponding world events at a given time.
Going South (Z+) will take visitors forward in time and North (Z-) will take visitors backward
in the past. East and West represent attitude: More conservative, to the West, more risky to
the East (arguably). Each element of this personal archive acts as a micro-portal; they are
moments of an unfolding narrative as visitors zoom through and pay attention to some.
Sounds are attached to each element and the visitors’ path creates an evolving 3D soundscape
resulting from a real-time mix of these sources.

A transition to scale +2 can be triggered by visitors at any moment. This rescaling turns
element in the archive into particles of larger self-organizing clouds of lights forming a more
abstract space. The shift is analogous to the passage from the atomic to the molecular level.


Scale +2

Visitor’s experience of Where are you? at scale +2 is of flying as in dreams. The large clouds of
light are clusters of translucent self-organizing cellular automatons. They give the impression of
being inside an infinite living system and invite to a sort of sensational journey and vertiginous
pas-de-deux. Human chants are attached to clusters and the visitor’s path will mix these into an
evolving composition. In this impressionistic, abstract, zero-gravity world, visitors are “angels”
amongst angels.

When triggered, the transition to scale +3 will appears to collapse the soft clusters of clouds
into materials of a terrestrial crust on which visitors land. The reverse transition to scale +1
is also possible from scale +2.


Scale +3

Visitors are suddenly repositioned in the middle of an infinite expanse of plains, mountains
and valleys reminiscent of sublime landscapes of the 18th century picturesque. Controlling their
altitude, speed and direction, they explore a more familiar terrain. Doing so they re-enact the
then new experience of space that inspired people such as Barker and De Saussure in the late
18th century when they formulated their panoramic representations of the world. By doing so
Barker and de Saussure, amongst others, repositioned the subject in the middle of things rather
than in front of the window defined by Alberti more than five centuries earlier. To many, the
late 18th century marks the birth of the “sensitive subject” positioned at the center of a
subjective universe, entitled to emotions and opinions, and authorized to act.


Encounters

At any moment in all three scales of the Where are you? world, visitors may come upon other
beings. They may be live ones through a telepresence connection with other venues when
possible. They may also be pre-recorded “portraits” connected to the immediate context of the
visitor experience. They may finally be visitors themselves, when hidden cameras incorporate
their own image within the “world”. At scale +1, the self-encounter window is set at the X = 0,
Y = 0 and Z = 0 coordinates. At scale +2, the encounter window is attached to a randomly moving
cube of light. At scale +3, the encounter window is perched on top of the highest mountain,
as a reminder of Petrarque’s initiatic climbing of Mount Ventoux in the 14th century.


Re-enchantment

Where are you? is inspired by an study of the larger historical context for today’s art practices.
When the observer of “Alberti’s window” enters Barker’s panorama in the late 18th century, he
metaphorically abandons “God’s womb” to be born to his own world. Left from then on to his
own imagination and judgment to “survive”, the observer -- turned subject, visitor, and now
actor and protagonist -- is thrown into a perpetual identity crisis and craving “mirrors”. The best
mirror is the gaze of others making such that a subject will finally recognize himself.

Where are you? stages a visitor’s introspective and extraverted moods in a neo-sublime universe
where identity is lost… and found again. Where are you? is an attempt at re-enchanting the world.

Play video demo (4:15 minutes)

Visitor experience and technical specs

The projection space (inverted dome, 5,5 m in diameter, 3 m high, free standing) opens up
in two sections to let visitors in and experience total audio and visual immersion. It can be left
open slightly to let large numbers of visitors flow through or be closed from within by a smaller
group (up to 8 people). The experience of flight is driven by an industrial strength 3-axis
joystick; anybody will know intuitively how to make use of it for navigation. A regular PC
(WIN XP) runs the program (C++/ OpenGL). It is connected to the SXGA hemispheric projector
(above the visitors’ heads) and to a series of 12 small transducers forming a hyper realistic
immersive soundscape. A DV camera is used for live telepresence and other live video input.
The teleCHACHA software [tot.sat.qc.ca] is used for telepresence when acitvated. The screen
(made of 32 fiberglass panels and aluminum parts) is assembled in 2 hour by a team of two.


Credit titles for Where are you?
and the Panoscope 360°

General concept, design, scenario, direction, production:
Luc Courchesne

Lens design:
D'nardo Colucci, The Elumenati

Software design:
Sébastien Roy, Guillaume Langlois, Alexandru Catalin Duru


Contents modelisation and integration:
Guillaume Langlois

Music, sound design, 3D audio systems:
Luc Martinez

Collaboration to screen design and fabrication:
Sébastien Bire

Camera, editing and video production (demo):
Thien Vu Dang

Created with support from:
Society for Arts and Technology (SAT)
Université de Montréal
Idéaction inc.
Canadian Heritage (FRRNM)
Institut de design Montreal (IDM)
Canada Arts Council (NMRI)
Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC)

Thanks to:
Monique Savoie
Sébastien Roy
Nicolas Reeves

Play video demo (4:15 minutes)

 

 

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The Visitor : Living by Numbers

 

 

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Panoscopic Journal

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Contact

Luc Courchesne
Project leader
luc@panoscope360.com
www.panoscope360.com

 

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Luc Courchesne
Artist, designer educator

Born 1952 in Quebec. Luc Courchesne studied at the Nova
Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax (Bachelor of Design,
1974) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge MA (Master of Science in Visual Studies, 1984).

His design work covers a wide range of projects in graphic,
product and exhibition design. His art installation work includes
Encyclopedia Chiaroscuro
(1987), Portrait One (1990), Family
Portrait
(1993), Hall of Shadows (1996), Landscape One (1997),
Passages
(1998), Rendez-vous … (1999), The Visitor: Living
by Numbers
(2001), Untitled (2002) and Where are you?
(2005).

He exhibited extensively worldwide in venues such as
the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Museum of
Modern Art, New York; La Villette, Paris, the ZKM, Karlsruhe.
He was awarded the Grand Prix of the ICC Biennale 1997 in
Tokyo and an Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica 1999
in Linz, Austria.

Courchesne, a funding member of the Society for Arts and
technology (SAT), is currently director of the School of Industrial
Design, University of Montreal [www.din.umontreal.ca]