[ISEA96] Poster: Marius Serra, Roc Pares & Narcis Pares – Babble: The Virtual tower of Babel

Poster Statement

Babble is a Virtual Reality experience which takes advantage of the new technological channels to revive the debate around the babelic myth. Babble is a Ceremony of Confusion. The user becomes transient of the Virtual Tower of Babel. It is a fully immersive experience which uses a head mounted display. Before entering Babble, the user is given an explanatory leaflet in thirteen languages, designed in the fashion of the instructions of an electric appliance. When the transient enters Babble, he finds himself in a walking space completely surrounded by water. his space consists of a boulevard which leads to an octogonal square. The Tower raises at the centre of this square, helicoidal and infinite in height, which reproduces the structure of DNA. The boulevard is full of perched parrots of thirteen different species. Each one shows a unique behaviour and sound. The transient must choose one to accompany him in his ascent. Only accompanied by a parrot will the transient be allowed to penetrate the interior of the Tower. Inside, the only way to go is upwards. Babble is Ascension. The parrot chosen as trip companion is the main reference for the transient of Babble. It always precedes him. The parrot is the measure of all objects. It moves or stands still in relation to the progress or immobility of the transient. Throughout his ascent, the transient encounters a series of stained glass windows on his left. Babble is Light. Every time the transient enters the field of view of a stained glass window, a message associated to the window is heard. Each new window turns on the playing of its sonorous message. Babble is Confusion. The first transient to enter the Tower will already find a hundred and sixty nine stained glass windows previously generated by the artificers of Babble. Babble is Tradition. Babble’s tradition has been introduced by its artificers by producing several distorsions on thirteen base stained glass windows, each of which contains the image of one of the thirteen parrots. The base stained glass windows are not textures. They have been modelled in 3D by vectorizing the image of each parrot into polygons. A distorted window is obtained from a base window and an oral message with a limited duration of thirteen seconds. The samples of the oral message serve as a chain of parameters, which conveniently re-scaled, are used as a deviation for each of the components of the vertices and the components of the colour of every polygon. In the same manner, Babble’s tradition is increased by the contributions of the transients. The oral intervention of each transient distorts in real time the base stained glass window associated to its parrot. The new subversion of tradition in the shape of a sonorous stained glass window substitutes the one that occupied the same location. The previous window and message are finally located at the top of the Tower, which grows with each new contribution in its arrogant goal of reaching the ultimate sense. Babble is Growth. After hearing himself, the transient suddenly starts a free fall from the height he reached to the base of the Tower, where everything blackens out. Babble is Failure. The Tower of Babel that Babble proposes will not outlast the myth. A mechanism of virtual selfdestruction has been provided, which will cause the collapse of the Tower with all the stained glass windows that configure it at that moment and will delete the computer files that contain the information that makes them possible in the virtual environment without possibility of recovery. Babble is Annihilation. This mechanism is activated by a message previously introduced by the artificers of Babble. Any transient may detonate it. If a voice recognition system incorporated in Babble detects a remarkable phonetical similarity between the transients and the artificers message, an apocalyptic ceremony of destruction will start. Babble is Infarct.

  • Marius Serra
  • Roc & Narcis Pares, Mexico/Spain