This is the first pass at a video intended to give a better visual sense of the nature of the Topological Slide project than that of the old still image documentation (the scratch narration needs to be replaced and additional narration added to provide better context during the short ride).
Stewart Dickson and I collaborated on creating the Topological Slide VR installation as part of the "Art and Virtual Environments Project" at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Documentation of the project can be found in the MIT Press book"Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual Environments" edited by Mary Anne Moser and Douglas MacLeod.
The original grant application to the Art and Virtual Environments Project (made in 1991) proposed the use of a tiltable platform as a kinesthetic interface for navigating upon topological surfaces. It went on to describe the project in the following words:
"The 'rider' will wear a head mounted display enabling an interactive wide-angle stereo view of a three-dimensional space. The space will consist of a model of a topological surface to which the platform is bound and upon which it is free to slide. The 'rider' may traverse the model's surface by leaning in the direction in which she desires to move. The amount of lean in a given direction will determine the rate of sliding."
This simple concept was the heart of the proposal and there was no conscious attempt to deal directly with the many interesting and complex conceptual issues surrounding VR. The Topological Slide was conceived to be a direct sensual experience of surface with overt handles for the intellect located in the mathematical concepts integral to the surfaces formation.
There is a long and rich history to the linkage of art and mathematics and the Topological Slide project may be viewed from several positions in this stream. One way of thinking of the project is to consider the topological surfaces as a priori objects presented as art. Jung remarked that number might be seen to be as much discovered as invented by man, and Duchamp established that the found object could take on a power equivalent to that of the crafted art object.