This VRML piece is a meditation on Euclidean geometry, matter, mortality, eternity and language in all of these contexts. It consists of two spaces, the first of which we experience as a movie that displays four stanzas, each of which expresses Euclidean elements: solid, plane, line, point. The next space is intriguing because it has the four words above, plus two more words, all surrounding a cube made of clusters of 2-3 letters. Navigate this space when the initial movie ends, seeing the different views, and you’ll get the point of what Knoebel is trying to express with this minimalist poem in a virtual environment.
Part of his “Words in Space” series, this poem uses VRML to position two dimensional words in different three dimensional rotational axes and provides a minimalist interface for the reader to switch between two types of rotation or movement, signaling the change with an audible click.
The spiraling of the words around a central axis and around each other mimic the speaker’s thought process as he obsesses over what seems to have been a traumatic incident. If we extend the idea of word rotation to its static title, we could read it as “walkdont,” as “dontwalk,” or over time as “walkdontwalkdontwalkdontwalkdont” an idea reinforced by the use of color in three key words and phrases punctuated by the blue “Who knew?”
Now you turn the words around in your head until you figure out what happened…
Part of the “Words in Space” series, this deceptively simple poem uses VRML to provide us with a first person point of view of this poem. After the initial click that sets this piece in motion, the lack of control as we fall past the lines, reading them as we go at an accelerating pace, helps us identify with Bill, a roofer “who lost / his footing in the dew / slick plywood.” In this virtual environment, the letters, words and lines gain an architectural physicality that reinforces the poem’s setting. Soft music in the background of this poem sets a sad tone for a situation full of gravitas.