Building Homeward Bound: A Web-Based Virtual Art Space

How a group of creatives built a virtual platform, a gallery show, and live performance of Hamlet in 6 months

Homeward Bound

“there is no ‘perfect’ virtual space — only experiments — and through creative collaboration, beauty and expression can find life through new mediums.”

The group meets on Zoom

Joy is the needle on the compass

Dr. Strange Yorb = Early Prototypes

Portals and avatars take shape
The space takes a gallery format as we start to design the experience

Artist Centered: Foodmasks, Green Screens, and Puppets

“Why imitate life and recreate walls bound by regulation when we had a limitless space to experiment?”

The first 90 posts of Foodmasku as a larger than life wall of images
David Rios and Eozin Che experiment with using the live screens, which were then modified to accommodate experiments with green screens
Mophead and Danasaur discuss Danasaur’s mission to find Cheese for Mother’s Day
Crayon, card stock, and scissors make for great story development
Adam Quinn testing the green screen feature

Home-Grown Dog Food

“We could eschew the physical limitations of traditional space but we couldn’t ignore the social dynamics of traditional gatherings”

Social dynamics in a virtual space bear striking resemblance to in-person gatherings
Field of view creates natural formations to support interaction
Artwork anchors discussion and creates destinations

Homeward Bound at Last

Animations like Chloe Lee’s “Night For Day” and David Lobser’s “Forbidden Fruit” are meeting places, destinations, and carefully placed anchors in an open environment
This series by Xuedi Chen creates pockets of sequential interest
Line of sight is key to navigating the environment and discovering new work
Visually permeable environments define individual work, create destinations, and create new visual frames for the space and the artwork
This layout by Daniel Lu illustrates how the open valley is divided to create zones of gathering, display and performance, and creates themed zones

Community Space: Baby Shower

“It’s a community space that transforms into whatever a community needs it to be.” ~ Dana Cohen

Opening Night Performance of “HMLT: An abridged tumble through William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”

Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”

The Lobby

Patrons mingle as they wait for the show to begin, and come together after the close to celebrate the performance

The Seating

Patrons are locked in place to avoid distraction and keep focus on the performance

The Performance

2021 and beyond: The platform at Sundance Stephanie Dinkins’ ‘Secret Garden’

The Platform Stack

Go, Pion, and Three.js

Blender, Three.js Objects, Images, Video, and Sound

Digital work by Rosalie Yu decimated in Blender to reduce file size for better online performance

World.Json: A human-readable approach to world-building

Chat and gallery map

Final Thoughts

Why not VR? Because you’d never see these smiling faces :)

Like a cold can of cheap beer, the space is best enjoyed with friends
Adam Quinn and Eozin Che experience the space in VR with Oculus and Magic Leap


About The Weekly Weekly

Scenes from “Neon” 2018

Founder of The Weekly Weekly, ITP grad, Ex Genslerite, Cooper Hewitter, Designer, Technologist, Dabbler. Bee lover.