To coincide with the release of Teengirl Fantasy's new EP, THERMAL, out today on Break World Records, the digital agency 4REAL—composed of musician/hacker Slava and artist Analisa Teachworth—built four interactive virtual realities that they paired with each of the EP's four tracks.
The THERMAL website, which went live today, runs on WebGL, a web-based 3D graphics technology makes 4REAL's four virtual worlds interactive. This allowed Slava and Teachworth to move the concept of the music video beyond traditional passive viewing, and towards a more active engagement with sound and vision.
“The viewers can shape the environments by adjusting camera angles, manipulating objects and even sound,” 4REAL said.
The first virtual world, “Cavescape,” features an evolving, amorphous blob suspended in the middle of neon-lit room. Viewers can move around the blob before passing into the virtual substance, and then through a multicolored wormhole inhabited by flying LCD screens and other objects.
The track “7:30” gets what looks like a floating, self-assembling nanotechnological machine, which functions as a portal through which viewers can pass into various terrestrial and submarine environments. What's great about this virtual experience is that changing one's perspective also makes the world like a DJ's mixing board, allowing users to slow down, pause, and warp the recording.
After a time, this virtual world uses GPS tracking to present what looks like a Google Street View of the user's location onto which the animated machine is mapped. As for the rest of the experiences, well, users will have to see for themselves. We don't want to spoil all of the fun.
“As technologies like WebGL and Web Audio become more ubiquitous we don’t have to experience the internet as though we are standing in front of a wall,” 4REAL told me. “There is an opportunity to re-envision the web as a rich dynamic responsive world. With this in mind, 4REAL creates video-game-like worlds that reference pop culture artifacts such as Dan Flavin’s neons (“Cavescape”) or a scene from Lost Highway (“U Touch Me”).”
4real's goal is to fuse art and technology via digital environments to create a more “immersive and poetic internet.” With THERMAL, they're off to a good start.