Soft, Fluffy, and Virtual
by Cindy Ludlam

  1. Description
    This piece can be viewed from three venues, the ImmersaDesk, the Access Grid, and the physical installation.

    1. Physical Enclosure
      The enclosure (approximately 7'L x 4'W x 8'H) has hundreds of knitted cats attached to inner walls. Cat sounds play through eight attached loudspeakers, and looping video of cats being handled is projected onto a section of the wall.

      Up to eight specially marked cats contain switches which enable sounds to be triggered in the enclosure at the approximate locations of the cats. Additional altered cat sounds (triggered by VR/AG participants) play from other locations. A video feed of the inside of the enclosure is provided to both AG and VR viewers.

    2. VR The viewer navigates in a world containing cat models. Video from the enclosure is texture-mapped onto a surface. When cats are triggered from the enclosure, the VR cats are animated.
    3. AG
      AG viewers see video from the physical enclosure as well as video from other AG nodes. A rendered view of the VR world is also provided. AG participants take turns navigating with laptop software which uses mouse and/or arrow-key input to change the rendered viewpoint.

  2. Technical Requirements
    Standard AG hardware and software is required. Sites which wish to navigate in VR must also provide computers running Windows '98 or Windows 2000. The VR navigation software will be distributed on the Web.

  3. Artist's Statement
    When I was a little girl living in rural Kentucky, I came across a photo of a two-headed Kitten. Over time, I became aware of other mutated animals. I also began to notice that many people in my town were diagnosed with cancer. Later I found out that a factory in the area had polluted the water. I have long experienced a discomfort in response to the chaos embodied in human life.

    In Soft Fluffy and Virtual, I attempt to create an interactive environment that explores the idea of space becoming uncomfortable. This is done by subverting objects and sounds that have traditionally comforted. I create an environment that attempts to surround the viewer by exciting their sense of light, touch, and sound. I entice the viewer into an apparently comfortable environment and then subject them to a potentially uncomfortable experience.

    Thanks to:
    Minds Eye Yarn and the Tuesday Knitters especially Lucy Lee
    Cindy Guzman
    Ryan Martin
    Leila Bandar
    Sachiko Akiyama
    The Graduate Sculpture Faculty
    The SFA Visual Arts Division Administration

  4. Artist's Bio
    Cindy Ludlam is a first year graduate sculpture student at Boston University School for the Arts. Cindy received her B.F.A. from the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a multimedia installation artist. Last year she was awarded a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center and this year is the recipient of a Deans Scholarship to Boston University School for the Arts . Recently, her work has been supported by the Northwest Neighborhood Foundation in Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in several Chicago area galleries and has been collected privately.

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