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virtual worlds, with the participant's body weight being used to control avatar movement
in four directions.This approach allowed the artists to focus attention on the perform-
ance element, rather than the performance becoming a background for the technology.
Despite early fears that its requirements may have been a little over ambitious, Desert
Rain has, with upwards of 10,000 participants to date, become the most successful and
longest running project in Blast Theory's history. Performances continued through late
2002 (Sydney) and early 2003 (Madrid). Substantial evaluation has been carried out on
the project, with ethnographer Dirk Vom Lehn of King's College London conducting
research on the actions and interactions of a number of participants. A book of theoreti-
cal essays on the implications of the work has been published, with contributions from
Matt Adams of Blast Theory and Professor Benford, among others.
A paper on Desert
Rain, `Orchestrating a Mixed Reality Performance', was also presented at the Computer
Human Interface conference in 2001.
Case Study III Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (
Founded in 1923, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) is Italy's national
scientific research centre, with a primary function `to carry on advanced basic and
applied research, both to develop and maintain its own scientific competitiveness, and to
be ready to effectively and timely take part in the strategic fields defined by the national
planning system.'
One of the areas in which the CNR is
heavily involved is that of virtual reality and its
implications for the heritage sector. Maurizio
Forte is a member of an institute whose cur-
rent scientific activities are oriented towards
Desktop Virtual Reality (DVR) applications,
particularly the creation of DVR projects and
systems based on OpenGL environments.These
kinds of projects generally involve the recon-
struction of sites/monuments/structures or
archaeological landscapes using OpenGL tech-
nologies and the C++ programming language.
For Forte, real-time DVR applications which integrate the power of a full 3D interface
with a complex information system can open up new perspectives for archaeological
communication and interpretation in terms of quality of information, cognitivity and
geometry of information, both for the scientific community and for end-users.
In the case of the recent Scrovegni's Chapel project
, the CNR team was composed of
three persons for the photogrammetry, two for the architectural models, two for the
computer graphic and image processing, one for C++ programming, two composers and
experts in ancient music, four for translations, two for technical-logistic direction, two for
multimedia, four for the texts, and one for design, interface and general direction. As is
normal in this type of project, there was also a scientific committee for handling general
Virtual Reality and
Display Technologies
Devices to demonstrate the dimensions and scale of the
Scrovegni's Chapel model
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricer
An eRENA report on Desert Rain, titled `Pushing Mixed Reality Boundaries', can also be found online at
Available online at
This case study is based on an email questionnaire completed by Maurizio Forte, Senior Scientist
at the CNR. Subsequent background information has been gleaned from the CNR's Website.