Mt. Merapi

Virtual Environment

CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), programming in AVANGO, a PERFORMER-based software from the VE research group of GMD, St. Augustin, Germany, by Björn Zehner and Jeremy Eccles
Seismic data provided by Prof. Dr. Frank Scherbaum’s research group at the University of Potsdam, Germany


Mt. Merapi

Technical basics
Mt. Merapi is a 3D virtual environment with real-time interaction. The viewer stands in a CAVE onto whose walls a virtual model of the Merapi volcano in Indonesia is projected. At three virtual points in the model audified seismograms can be started. The audification of these seismograms (taken from 03/07/1998–05/07/1998, four days before the eruption of the volcano) is exactly in time with a visualisation of geophysically calculated earthquake hypocentres documenting the rise of magma. The sound is filtered in different ways above and below the virtual earth’s surface.

Artistic concept
My work with the Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung (GMD) afforded me access to the first European CAVE. This virtual space lent itself to creating a kind of anti-panorama: what would happen if you were to become part of a re-scaled landscape? What would it be like if a volcano were only as long as an arm and could be traversed in just a few steps? Which forms would become visible if you could study the volcano’s underside as an inverted landscape? Finally, how do earthquake hypocentres develop in this negative form; in short, how do sound and image complement one another?