Menagerie is a Virtual Environment
installation by Michael Girard, Susan Amkraut, Mark Trayle,
and myself commissioned for the exhibition "Revue Virtuelle"
at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. This virtual
world is inhabited by virtual characters and presences
specially designed to respond to and interact with its
users. The animals enter and exit the space through portholes
and doors which materialize and dematerialize around the
As a user explores the virtual space,
they encounter several species of computer-generated animals,
birds, and insects that move about independently, and
interactively respond to the users presence in various
ways. For example, if the user moves towards a group of
birds gathered on the ground, they might take off and
swirl around the user with realistic flocking behavior,
fly off into the distance, and return to the ground in
another location. Several four-legged animals will approach
the user with different gaits and behavioral reactions.
The visitor might also turn toward the 3D localized sound
of other animals as they follow from behind.