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hese are, chiefly and especially since Fall 2007, selected Cave Writing essays and exercises - chosen for particular points of interest, notable coding, novel approaches to writing in immersive 3D, aesthetic engagement, etc. - produce by individual students of the Cave Writing courses.

Fall 2009

Sebastian Gallese (MCM '10) : Burnett Plaza (first-assignment)

This project is nothing more than an exploration of how when letters are scaled or moved in three dimensions they can appear as if they aren't "moving" at all. I.e., as the characters move back into the cave, they scale in height, so when the goggles are held in one spot, it may look as though the characters are standing still.

Get a longer description of the project, scripts used to compose the project, and more notes/goodies at Sebastian Gallese's Cave Notes

XML files downloadable here

You should hold the main goggles at about chest height while your tiptoes are on the edge of the cave.

The path Burnett Plaza is:

Joanne Wang (Biology + MCM '11) : For the Frog King (first-assignment)

The concept behind this piece is simple. I was interested in creating a sort of shrine - a place the viewer would endeavor to enter but was at once pushed out of by the very place itself. The shooting o's and the squelching/convulsing concentric circles allow what is a place to become also a being or a creature of sorts or perhaps an entity manipulated by whatever higher power resides in this place.

Joe Waechter (Playwriting Grad '10): Antarctica


 Antarctica centers around two very different voyages to remote areas of the world - a real-life trip to Iceland and an imagined voyage to the southernmost continent. The narrative fragments and shifts (like glaciers) through a mixture of memory and imagined memory. It assumes the form of a Calder-like mobile and, borrowing form Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelstium asks the question: Where is the center of your universe?

This project is currently in process and will be available soon.

Soo Jin Rho (RISD, D+M graduate '10) : Snowy Road (first assignment)

Snowy Road is a space that is described in the poem Snowy Road of a Korean poet Ko Eun. It is suggested as a space of meditation and confession.

Surrounded by the snow that covers everything in the past, the poet narrates one's illumination and comprehension.

According to the viewer's eye, the phrases of the poem shows up and recedes from the screen.

Chris Novello (MCM '11) : Paper Colossus (Final Project.alpha)

This project is still verymuch in transition.

The jumping off point idea is: using text in space as a representation of interaction between emotions, mind, control, and larger awareness. I'm very open to the project moving in different directions with that as my initial form.

The soundtrack will be ambient textures mixed with harmonic distortion.

I'm currently experimenting with scanning in hand-drawn media, and have a lot of kinks to work out.

Evan Chamberlain and John Verdery (RISD glass 10, RISD illustration 10) : The City (Final Project.alpha)

The city is a visualization of the passage of time and the way that memories combine themselves in a place where people are forced to live in close contact with each other.

Spring 2009

Mary Choueiter (RISD, D+M graduate '09) : ENLARGED TO SHOW DETAIL (work-in-progress)

Enlarged to show detail is a visual immersive language.
It uses the language of patterns to create a world of colorful dots.

Movie Documentation of the piece with sound from a music box playing the sentence ORBIT ADA 14 PIECES JUST BRUSHED CLEAN FEELING

Justin Katko (LitArts Grad '09) : O TUNNEL WITH MODEL SOUND (Fall 2007/Spring 2009)

XML, AIF, and PNG files downloadable here (Zip file, 296KB)

Terrence Ma ('12) : 747 (first assignment)

My first cave piece is based on a poem I wrote entitled 747. The poem hints at the fact that the author is
on a plane and describes the emotions the author is feeling. Making flight travel sound as if it is a burden
rather than just a mode of efficient transportation.

Download the zipped cave files here.

Ben Nicholson (MEME/LitArts '11) : TO BEGIN (work-in-progress)

to begin is currently a work-in-progress for which I have culled material from Samuel Beckett's How It Is in order to address a number of concepts implicit in Beckett's text.

This piece consists of three distinct sections: pefore pim, with pim, and after pim. pim is a collection of letters that serves as a skeletal representation of ___.

The overall narrative arc of to begin traces a path towards and then away from solipsism, with many diversions along the way. It is intended to be experienced by a single user. As of this writing, there are episodes of journeying and torture. Further episodes, particularly a final part based on Beckett's third part, are under development.

A white table has been placed in the corner of the CAVE as a prop and projection surface. I am using this device to experiment with breaks and shifts in the worlds of both the writing and the Cave as media with it own distinctive specificities.

The path to begin is:

Fall 2008

Alexander Dupuis (MEME '10) : ZAPPA (first assignment)

A quote by Frank Zappa both inspires and forms this piece.  Its design runs counter to the idea that an environment in the Cave should not acknowledge the existence of the Cave's walls.  Inside the Cave, where does the real world end and the art begin?

  • XML for download and preview :ZappaStart.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/adupuis/Zappa/
    Within this folder, the file 'ZappaCave.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Alex Kruckman (MEME/Math '10) : SPACE (first assignment)

The goal of this project was to create an environment out of text objects interesting enough to serve as the focus of a piece, not just as a backdrop for other events. Rotating walls, shifting colors, and a telescoping relationship between scale and distance in my space simultaneously suggest vastness and claustrophobia. The programmatic portion of the piece lasts 30 seconds, after which the user is free to explore the space. It demonstrates two perspectives, starting at the center then pulling back to give the user more complete view. This is accompanied by a short text (read with a requisite cheesy vocal effect) which hints that the user should explore the boundaries of the environment, where some interesting textures and perspectives may be found.

  • zip for download and preview :
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/akruckman/space/
    Within this folder, the file 'space.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Alex Kruckman (MEME/Math '10) : SMALL (proof of concept for final project)

A pint-sized project which overcomes its diminuitive stature with a bit of bravado. The sphere of about 500 small objects was created using a script which positions text using spherical coordinates (see my notes page). Warning: once you've seen 30 seconds, you've seen it all, and extended viewing may cause fatal aggravation. Voices by Alex Kruckman and Alex Dupuis.

  • zip for download and preview :
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/akruckman/small/
    Within this folder, the file 'small.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Ben Lichtner (Undecided '12) : Clarity (final project subsection)

This project is based off the word "clarity" in the context of Paul Huber's "En El Museo del Prado"
It tries to explore cleanliness as it relates to innocence and the innate responsibilities belonging to members of a society.
Clarity uses overlapping timelines and random objects to create a random, chaotic flickering effect with "O"s and "0"s.
The sound-linked format in which text is displayed is inspired by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries and the occlusion of text and use of black and white visibility and invisibility is inspired by Cayley's Lens

  • XML for download and preview
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/blichtner/Clarity/
    Within this folder, the file 'clarity.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Max Mankin (Chemistry '11) : Well (second assignment)

Our second project required us to create a physical space. Though the well is not particularly profound, it uses cave movement to simulate acceleration due to gravity toward the bottom of the well. As the project developed, the well became an agent of contrast to differentiate the dark, enclosed area at the bottom of the well from an open, cheery space, namely a sunny meadow.

Technical notes: It's interesting to note that though acceleration due to gravity is 31.174 ft/s^2, my acceleration needs to be tiny (.1) because of the nuances of the cave. The amount of cave movement from acceleration was generated using the well-known equation from basic physics, .5at^2 = x. The points that define the well correspond to the equation x^2 + z^2 = 4. Another important aspect to note about each of the pieces is the incrementation of their angle rotation, so that they all point toward the center of the circle. The perl scripts that I wrote to create the walls of the well are attached. On slower machines with older graphics cards, the long, deep text objects can cause poor performance.

  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/mmankin/JustAWorkingWell
    Within this folder, the file 'justaworkingwell.xml' should be loaded into the editor. 
  • Perl scripts (Open these with emacs, wordpad, notepad, MSWORD, or some other text-editing program)

Ben Nicholson (MEME '11) : GLITCH (final project maquette)

This little piece is the initial segment of my group's larger "Glitch" project (minus sound).

The idea of "screens" is to establish the cave as a space that is essentially a fabrication, a composite of images deliberately projected onto screens/walls.

By initiating our audience in a way that is simple and literal, by challenging the notion that the cave transcends its status as a projection room, the stage is set for the rest of the piece to subversively address ideas of deliberation and creativity within computerized systems and human beings via 'the glitch'.   

  • XML for download and preview
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/bnicholson/Glitch/
    Within this folder, the file 'screens.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Jason S Lee (MCM '09) : ( i )


"( i )" was made for our first assignment, where we had to create an architectural space using language. I thought about the cave itself as an architectural space, and with my piece attempted to address two issues: gender and architecture. The physical layout of the cave reminded me more of a womb, or immersible environment where control and recognition was once again unnatural or awkward. A major influence on this piece comes from Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto.

  • XML for download and preview :( i )
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/jslee/Cavewriting/Jason_i_v1.xml
    Within this folder, the file 'Jason_i_v1.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Jason S Lee (MCM '09) : Ghost

"Ghost" is a piece that I made in preparation for my final project. It is about the possibility of creative expression in the glitch, and resistance of machine against the will of the user. Although it is unfinished and not quite finished, the ideas from it carried over to our final project and it laid the groundwork for many of the idea I eventually implemented in my final piece.

  • XML for download and preview :Ghost
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/jslee/Cavewriting/Jason_As_2.xml
    Within this folder, the file 'Jason_i_v1.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Martha Grant (RISD: Film/Animation/Video '10) : EYEFACE (first assignment)

I created EyeFace when we were first exploring 3-D text in the Cave. Because of the Cave's sterile and impersonal digital atmosphere, I wondered about creating pieces to which the viewer could have a more intuitive response. I chose to try to represent a photo-realistic eye, hoping that the viewer would connect to the imagery of an eye and not to the letters and symbols which create it. The eye was constructed with text aligned three dimensionally so that when the viewer moves about in the cave, they will have the sensation of entering an object and not just of passing through flat shapes.

  • XML for download and preview :eyeface3.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/mgrant/marthatestprojects/facetests/
    Within this folder, the file 'eyeface3.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Spring 2008

Alex Arruda (MCM '11) : "Where do you want to go today??" (first assignment)

"Where Do You Want To Go Today??" was a project using solely text objects that was designed to create an "interactive", maze-like space. As the user moves forward along a clearly delineated "walkway" made of I's, set in the center of a giant, ovoid arena constructed of two large "U" text objects, the user is presented with various text events, either telling "you" what to do, or what "I" would have done, and eventually reaching an "end" in which the entire maze fades away, piece by piece, into blackness.


The point of the piece, though admittedly vague in my mind, was to engage the notions of subjectivity in an "interactive" space by putting focus on the pronouns "I" and "you", in doing so questioning what these pronouns could refer to when one is exploring text in the Cave environment. While the environment seems to create an "open" space, one's choices are clearly limited and the "events" must be gone through in a specific order, creating a pseudo-narrative. The use of Microsoft's infamous 1996 slogan, "Where Do You Want To Go Today? ?", put during the only moment of apparent "choice" within the piece, is meant to call to question just how much "freedom" one really has when one is navigating interactive spaces. In both the Cave environment and one's one operating system, one's options and choices limited by the confines of how this system interprets and presents the underlying code it represents.

  • XML for download and preview :AllText.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/aarruda/WhatDoYouWantToGoToday/
    Within this folder, the file 'AllText.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Jesse Butterfield (CS MSc'08) PLAYGROUND (first assignment)


Playground is an attempt to use text alone to create a three dimensional structure. It consists of a swing set and a hopscotch board made out of sentences taken from a letter I received while teaching a 9th grade Algebra I class last year in Danville, Virginia. I received the letter after complaining to a student about her poor attendance. She wrote back to tell me how much she loved school and about her difficulties with balancing being fifteen, poor, and having a child. My hope is that the imagery of the empty playground, perhaps a slightly overused and less than subtle metaphor for lost childhood, finds new life in this medium. You are free to move about the somewhat ghostly playground, unable to interact with the swings. Many of the viewers have put out their hands to watch the unusual effect of having the slowly moving swing pass through them without stopping. At the same time, the hopscotch board is completely functional. You can hop through it, interacting with this 3D ghost world as if it were real. I placed the swing set in the corner of the room in an attempt to open up the space of the cave. I was hoping that breaking the plane of the wall would make them seem less real and create a sensation of infinite space in the cave.

Technical Details: I constructed the swing set in the center of the cave, in order to make the geometry more intuitive. I then use a time line with a world move of duration 0s in the beginning to move the cave where I would like it. I could have just moved the swing set if I had set the around self axis button to false, but for the motion of the swing, the chains and the seat had to move on their own axes. To get the swing to swing, I had to find a way to rotate around the end of the text. To do this I doubled the text and then position the end of the text (now actually the center) in the location I wanted it. I then deleted the duplicate of the text. Since the text is centered, this causes it to move in the cave. Finally, all I had to to do was add spaces until the text returned to where I had originally placed it. Now the center of the text object is the end of the text. The seat moves in two directions. The values where chosen by trial and error to minimize the discrepancy between the motion of the seat and the chains.This is certainly not exactly correct movement (the seat moves in a v), but it works well enough.

The hopscotch is again created at the center of the cave. This time however, I set rotate around self axis to be false, so that when I grouped the entire hopscotch I could move it using relative moves and it would retain its configuration. The 0s world move trick can of course only be used for one object and I recommend only using it if you have an object that is going to be moving, since normally you want to rotate everything around the world axis so you can just move it with a group move. I turned off the world move and made the swing invisible when working on the hopscotch. I then turned the world move back on when I was finished and wanted to position the hopscotch to see where it moved to so I could move it back to the center of the cave. 

  • XML for download and preview : Playground.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/jbutterf/Playground/
    Within this folder, the file 'Playground.xml' should be loaded into the editor.


This work is a reinterpretation of Christian Bök's "Vowels" (originally from Eunoia). I really enjoyed the poem's conceit of using only a very limited pool of letters to create a cohesive poetic narrative, and I wanted to emphasize the overlap by having the letters be conserved - using only the bare minimum number of letters to create the entire poem. The pause between each transition forces you to consume the poem with the line as the atomic unit, rather than skipping directly through as though it was prose, and the transitions themselves interlink the lines by combining shared letters.

  • XML for download and preview : vowels.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/odean/
    Within this folder, the file 'vowels.xml' should be loaded into the editor.


This piece starts off with an epigraph from a poem by Cole Swenson's "The Invention of Streetlights" which reads ""Throughout the Middle Ages you could hire a man /
on any corner with a torch to take you home. / ... / Now the streets stand still." The poem is one of a series by Swenson from "Goest" that center around variations on the theme of light. It is meant to evoke a somewhat mournful feel about streetlights - since streetlights are sort of nostalgic already I liked the idea of being nostalgic for a time before streetlights particularly considering the fact that the invention of streetlights was probably one of the most significant law enforcement measures in history.
  After a few seconds, the epigraph fades out and the Lantern itself fades in. The body of the Lantern is a capital I, the light itself is composed of 4 concentric O's rotating in opposite directions. In addition to spinning the O's also pulse from red to black in unison. The frame of the lantern is composed of a poem that I had written in two dimensions originally. It consists of four stanzas arranged like so:

  (1) (2)
  (3) (4)

The poem was written such that it could be read either down the stanzas or across the stanzas (as in, the first line from stanzas 1 and 2, then the second line from stanzas 1 and 2, etc etc). I enjoyed the subversive implications of leading the reader down different paths depending on their reading instincts, and I thought it would translate well into 3D. So the frame of the Lantern consists of these four stanzas. Every three seconds they rearrange themselves, from one reading to the other, as well as rotating 90 degrees around the Lantern. The intended effect of this is that viewers not be able to fully complete a stanza before it rearranges to another one, and that the combination of two arrangements and rotation leaves the impression of many more arrangements than the two that there actually are.
  The poem itself is about a man wandering a house whose proportions are in violation of our expectations (bigger on the inside than the outside, for example). I liked the idea that the poem itself operated in 4 dimensions, the three obvious ones and the 4th dimension of rearrangement. The frame stanzas also randomly drift among various blue-greens meant to imply a watery surface, transparent like glass but more fluid.
  The whole piece was originally conceived of as a literal interpretation of putting someone (or something) on a pedastal, which is why it's still called "pedastal.xml" - but I liked the streetlight idea better once I actually built it. If I had the time and inclination, I would move the whole object further back - it is placed in the dead center of the cave, which is unfortunately a difficult angle to view it from. It was built on the desktop previewer, so I didn't see the problem until it was already completed and would have been quite involved to reposition.

Technical Details
The frame rearrangement was achieved using 8 timelines, one for each combination of arrangement (A or B) and orientation (1, 2, 3 or 4). Each timeline ended by triggering the next one, so a continuous cycle was achieved: 1a -> 1b -> 2a -> 2b, etc etc. Each line within a stanza was governed by it's own "object" and each individual timeline consisted of absolute movements on the line objects to the appropriate locations. In addition to that there was a "watercolor" timeline that controlled the coloration by randomly selecting one of the lines and assigning it one of the preselected colors. This is done every .2 seconds to two of the lines in the frames. The pulsing of the O's is done in a similar manner, without the randomization, and the spinning is governed by yet another timeline.

  • XML for download and preview : pedastal.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/todean/
    Within this folder, the file 'pedastal.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

This piece consists of a quote from Arthur Waley's translation of Po Chu-I's poem "Madly Singing in the Mountains":
   "There is no one among men that has not a special failing
   and my failing consists in writing verses."
"Madly Singing in the Mountains" discusses the privacy and embarrassment associated with poetic work. To play with the tension between a desire to share one's accomplishments and writing and a desire to shield oneself from possible hostile judgment, I wanted to make a piece that used the quote but 'hides' from the viewer, making direct appreciation somewhat difficult.
  The way I achieved this was to cause the words of the poem to scatter whenever they were looked at directly. When the viewer does not look at any of the words in the piece they slowly reassemble into the original ordering, meaning that the quote can effectively only be read with peripheral vision.
  I enjoy the tension of only being able to appreciate the piece when you aren't paying attention to it, and it forces a kind of meditative interaction with the quote, which again I feel is appropriate, both to the source material and to the relatively Spartan aesthetic of the piece.

Technical Details
Each word in the quote is separated into it's own text object. Each of these objects is then slotted into one of three groups - the first line, the second line and the quote credit. Each of the three groups has a corresponding "explode" timeline. The "explode" timeline chooses a random element within the group and moves it an arbitrary (but deterministic) direction. Then, after 5 seconds the words in the group return to their original positions, unless disturbed by another trigger of the explosion timelines. Each of the words has a "look-at" event that triggers it's associated explosion timeline.

  • XML for download and preview : special-failing.xml
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this file locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/todean/
    Within this folder, the file 'special-failing.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Kelly Sanford (Architectural Studies '10) : TREES (first assignment)


  • A Natural Scene

I love trees, and I love nature. I am an environmentalist and I wanted to create some sort of natural scene for the first project. There were a couple ideas that I was trying to get at. First of all, although the digital trees made of words look nice, and are fun to wander through, they can no way replace the natural scenery in our world. The user is strongly aware that they are indoors, and the reprentations of trees and earth are abstract. The text I used to create the trees are excerpts including the word "tree" from Henry David Thoreau's Walden, heralded as the first nature writing, and sparking a new genre and movement. For those who haven't spent much time in nature, they can imagine the scenery as described through the eyes of Thoreau in Walden. I suppose this is a more literal interpretation of that, his words actually build a scene that can be experience spacially. The ground is represented by several layers of text including the world earth. The layers mimic the layers of soil which form because of the seasonal falling of leaves and also create a textured, visually pleasing effect. Just as the text is unreadable as it is layered, we cannot really discern the different layers of fallen leaves as we look at the ground. The entrance of color into the scene is representative of the increasing appreciation for nature that arises after spending more time in it, and also makes for a more visually pleasing scene.
  If I were to continue with the project, I would like to add sounds and more animations. Words could drift down out of the trees to create something (poetry?) , or "birds" could fly. I'd like to add something more interactive so that looking at certain spaces would change the trees, causing them to grow, die or change color. I was also thinking about the concept of making aspects of the project disappear and change as the viewer moved throught them, to illustrate the concept that as you use and move through a natural environment, you have an effect on the scenery and health of the ecosystem just by being there.

  • To run it in the cave or local previewer ...
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/ksanford/Trees/
    Within this folder, the file 'WaldenTreesColor.xml' should be loaded into the editor.
    NB: I've used a font that doesn't come with the cavewriting program. If you go into my directory to the Trees folder you just have to select the font PlantagenetCherokee.ttf and copy it into the fonts folder under the cavewriting program directory. It's as simple as that! Enjoy.

Fall 2007

Ben Hutchison (CS) : PANORAMAS (final project)


Panoramas is a collection of locations on the Brown campus captured using panorama photography. These are presented in the Cave 3D environment, where the panoramas themselves combine with the Cave's rendering capabilities and tactile interaction methods to create a new, immersive experience.
  The locations are tied together with an elevator metaphor, which gives a concrete spatial link between them. This is important for intuitive navigation.
Each location highlights interesting historical aspects of buildings at Brown, conveyed by floating text that wraps around the viewer like the photographs themselves and appears 3D and more physical than conventional flat text.

  • Zipped files for download and preview (11 Mb) :
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this archive and unzip it locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/bhutchis/Project/
    Within this folder, the file 'output.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Carman McNary (LitArts'08) : FEELING A POEM (final project)


  • Feeling a Poem

My project ties a visual and physical action to a certain sound in a poem. In my project, I've focused on the sounds 'A, E, I, O and U.' As each sound is made, there is a brief visual eruption of that letter into the space of the cave. This is meant to give the feeling that the letters have some physical quality that can move and give the illusion of physical contact with the body.
The concept behind this is seeing if I can give, even in a small and basic way, a stress to a sound using a combination of sight and illusion of touch. ...
Poetry's mechanical aesthetics generally rely upon stress. But stress in the traditional sense relies mainly upon sound itself, and occasionally upon sight. In my project, I tried to give it the physical presence of touch as well. Im not sure how it turned out. To try to facilitate this, I enclosed the person in the cave in text. I think that the feeling of enclosure gives the subject in the cave the feeling that the letters around them are physical objects. I also gave the letters color and depth. I meant to do this to simply give the letters as many dimensions as I could. Obviously they also move in and out of the cave space.
  Finally, at the end of the poetry reading, the world expands. What it leaves you with is a huge world made up of letters. When exploring this world there are strong illusions of letters touching you, with different degrees of magnitude depending on the area you are in the world. Hopefully, movements during the poem have connected the letter with a sound, and you can "feel" the sound. I don't know if this will be the case in practice, but its the concept at least.
  You can move and rotate the cave at will. This can allow for some neat sort of results, for instance, if you leave the structure all together, you will only hear the poem and see the letters themselves rapidly expand to the enlarged world and then back again. However, sometimes when you move around, you will lose the sound all-together. I think this is a glitch in the cave. Generally, I would say that untill the world expands, stay within the box of E's. And when you are exploring, I think it's worthwhile to walk around the cave a bit. You can get yourself really dis-oriented and find yourself caught between the letter world and the real world.
  Poem Sounded: 'When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be' by John Keats Free, and legal, download.
  (More of: Carman's notes on his project.)

  • Zipped files for download and preview (5 Mb) :
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this archive and unzip it locally.
    Please also note: this project requires a computer with fast graphics to display fluently.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/cmcnary/feeling/
    Within this folder, the file 'FinalProject.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Joshua A Spechler (Engineering & Physics'08) : WIND X-TRA (final project)


  • (click image for a brief movie)

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V Wind X-tra, Y and Z. Read and play. Give and take. Push around. Twirl and tilt. Look quickly. Watch out! Stay a while. Drink it in. Experiment within.
  The clips and phrases are to be read at you leisure, making poetry you desire, dancing as much as you dance, composing the symphony you dictate. This piece was inspired by playing with wind chimes. I thought the cave would be a perfect spot to digitally remix the experience. The sounds are pure sine waves generated in Audacity, with simple enveloping functions to make the sound gently lull away into the background. The words are chopped segments from original work. This is to be enjoyed as an installation, no instructions, no beginning, no end. Maybe as you stand on a cloud, you can think that you are running your fingers through a wind chime. Caution: watch out for unruly punctuation.
  Wind X-tra is the culmination of my first electronic writing venture with the cave. I have completed two courses in electronic writing in 2005, and 2006, and completed Thalia Field's 'unpublishable text' class, last semester. Some of my electronic work exists on

  • Zipped files for download and preview :
    Nb: if given the option, choose to save this archive and unzip it locally.
  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/jspechle/txc/
    Within this folder, the file 'txca.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Spring 2007 and Before

Braxton Soderman, with Roxanne Carter : SNOWBLIND


The Cave is both the brightness of projected light which strikes us snowblind and the dark recesses of the opaque which envelops us in what cannot be seen. This short, time-based project is a simple excursion in cave poetics. White punctuation marks and textual symbols blow about the cave, concealing and revealing black lines of a poem which move over and under the sheets of roving, typographical fragments. These white sheets act as 'windows' that the user peers through, attempting to locate and capture the lines of the poem which are obscured within the abstract, textual storm. Fragments of weather forecasts and environmental sounds cover the user as a woman, trapped in her home, narrates the slow reality of her thoughts as the snow churns outside. When the storm dissipates the user is left with a blanket of white text at her feet, composed of the separate lines that she was able to find and snatch from the whorl of the storm's disorientation. Perhaps the gaps in the remaining static text are symbolic of the fissures in thought which punctuate our phenomenological experiences?drifting in and out as we try to grasp their falling and fading significance.

  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/soderman/snowing/
    Within this folder, the file 'SNOWINGnew.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

Braxton Soderman, with Roxanne Carter : THE DEFACEMENT OF DESIRE


In the heart of desire you will only ever see yourself looking. This piece seeks to caress the contours of desire operating within a technology of immersion and control. Within the womb of a wish that impregnates reality with the technological seed of humanity's creative vision, spectators surround themselves in a simulated reality which is truly the child of their own psychic structures. Like photography, cinema and the panoramas before it, the Cave is a technology of illusory vision that extends the desire to capture reality in its own image. Yet, in its search to capture, the Cave inevitably constructs what it wishes to capture, captivating its audience in its own spectacular and specular traps. While the sanctioned, scientific uses of the Cave unreflectively pursue the desire to transparently see and manipulate the 'secrets' of the real, the aesthetic deviations of Cave Writing?through words, images, sounds, and movements?contain the potential to unhinge and rewrite the narrative of desire operating within the dissecting gaze of dominant patterns of thought. It is our hope that The Defacement of Desire begins this 'self-reflective' journey.

Surrounded by four giant close-ups of cinematic starlets gazing down upon you, there is no choice but to look (or look away). Using the built-in headtracking feature of the Cave, a portion of the starlet's face in your line of sight fades away, thus interrupting the (masculine) desire to possess through the gaze: you cannot help but see through what you desire to possess. Behind these 'defacements' are images, quotations and diary entries which self-reflexively interrogate the spectator's desire to see and uncover?to unmask secrets as a form of possessing knowledge. If the diary is a textual form of the intimate and the secret, then the desire to read what is hidden within its pages is a violation, a form of trespass spurred by insatiable curiosity. As you explore the revealed text and images you are constantly positioned as the object of the gaze and encouraged to reflect upon your own 'look' and the desires that motivate it. Although The Defacement of Desire is a self-reflexive rumination on the technology of the Cave, individual viewers will inevitably discover their own insights. Questions concerning pleasure, the gaze, fetishism, voyeurism, hermeneutics, exhibitionism, photography, feminism, and gender mingle playfully within the space of one's reading, while answers to these questions ultimately remain in the eye of the beholder.

  • To run in the Cave:
    Path to project: /share/cavewriting/students/soderman/eep/
    Within this folder, the file 'faceNEW1.xml' should be loaded into the editor.

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