VR: Art vs. Culture (was: Some Questions About Thinking)

Tue, 28 Mar 1995 08:47:37 +0000


>Jon Russell (jmr@ecs.soton.ac.uk) asked:
>>Doesn't a visual representation of an object over come cultural and
>>language problems by being language independent ??

IMHO... Yes it does any communication between two alien cultures has to
be started by common terms of referance, these are usually visual.

>Language problems, yes, but not cultural problems. If you use a trash
>can ("dust bin" to you, Jon) to represent a place to discard things, a
>person from another culture might see a round metal storage container,
>which is correct, in a way, but could lead to misinterpretation.

Errrrr.. 'scuse me but in computer (certainly GUI) parlance isn't the trashcan
(I call it that too) a universal symbol for discarding somthing?

>As a further example, what structure do you visualize when I say the
>word "home?" For someone like me from the American suburbs, it might
>be a single-familty dwelling with a sloping roof and a driveway. To an
>inner city youth, it's more likely an apartment. To someone from a village
>in the tropics, it might be a multi-family structure with a thatched or tin
>roof. There aren't too many homeless people using the Internet, but it
>might have a different meaning to them. So if you're designing a VR
>construct which allows the user to teleport back to a "home state," what
>should the construct look like? A single family dwelling with a sloping
>roof and a driveway? That shows cultural jingoism, and it doesn't match
>the picture of "home" for most of the people in the world. (I vote for ruby
>slippers, but that's just me. Someone from another culture may not even
>catch the reference to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.)

Maybe I'm missing something here but isn't anybodys home environment
usually defined by themselves rather than imposed by somone else. I would
hope that a VRML client (Yes please I'd love one!) would alloe the user to
define their own 'home state' It may be that I currently dwelling in an
apartment ( flat inthe UK ) would rather like a single family dwelling with a
sloping roof and a drive.

>Visual representation is very culturally dependent. Ask any
>photographer or artist. In fact, a culture's art says a lot about that

Here again I would disagree. A cultures art is representative of that culture
but does not define or limit that culture, and is not dependant on that
culture. Indeed a culture so restricted would more than likly not accept a
VRML world as it would have no place in that culture.

I think the decision to be made here is this.... Are we dealing with many
cultures/languages/political structures OR a single global community with
many personalities but a common pool of knowledge of computers and
terminology. My feelings tend toward the latter.

If you wee dropped into a world you didn't know what would be the first
thing you did..........? Yup, you'd LOOK around for somthing familiar or
similar to what you already know.

If you try to accomodate differences you highlight them.. surely not the aim

I look forward to the response. ;-)


Looking forward to the future.... Forgetting yesterday 'cause it's gone.