I had the good fortune of working with Professor John Cayley for many years prior to putting this video together, and he is one of the faculty that make Brown a truly world class institution. His work with Digital Language Arts requires some explanation as it represents a drastic departure from what many would consider literary arts. At its core, Professor Cayley’s work recognizes that text has a profound impact on how ideas are consumed, processed, and interpreted. How we read a paperback novel is very different from how we read a magazine or newspaper. With the emergence of the personal computer and the internet, a vast new array of textual formats have emerged and along with them entirely new methods of consuming the written word.
The Cave (Brown’s first immersive VR system, constructed in 1997) has provided Professor Cayley with the ability to take these ideas to another level. Thanks to the three walls of stereoscopic projection, John Cayley and his students can create works that take on architectural proportions. Poems are not simply something to be read, but moved through and interacted with. Sentences become horizons, syllables rain. Having to edit such a profound array of dizzying visuals was both a challenge and a joy. I don’t know if I could ever do the original content justice, but getting to try was an honor.