Time, Space, and Stuff are intrinsic parts of both reality and virtual
reality. Space and Stuff are simple enough. VR programmers can produce fantastic
or real-world objects and places whenever they please. But Time -- real,
historic, or future -- is trickier. The only 'real' Time that a VR world
can depict is the photographable or videographable present, or the past
as its sights and sounds have been preserved by human technology. Future
Time can be rendered only by our imaginations, or waited for, until it becomes
By a lucky, and temporary, calendric synchronicity, an extraordinary
discontinuity in the timespace continuum is approaching.
This predictable and scheduled near-future event is The Millennium. The
turn of the year 2000 has been, for much of the preceding millennium, and
will be for the entire millennium ahead, a great symbolic divide in human
affairs and the history of intelligent life on this planet. In one spin
of the Earth, humanity will exit the stretch of time that has included about
97 percent of everything we call history and will enter the future. In a
flash, the 1000s will become the 2000s.
Millennium Night and the two days that bracket it offer an unparalleled
opportunity for a massive, worldwide, simultaneous pictorial documentation
of our world and ourselves. The Millenial shift and present technology offer
an opportunity way beyond any previous occasion. This writer is working
on a project to enlist a major portion of the world's population to create
an image database of the millions of parties, celebrations, gatherings,
festivals, and miscellaneous events occurring around the globe as it revolves
out of December 1999 into January 2000.
These still-life and video images, along with audio-clipped voices, cheers,
music and commotion, will be compiled over the succeeding months and years
into the largest interactive set of navigable sights and sounds ever created:
a Virtual Turn-of-the-Millennium World that can be visited forever by the
denizens of every decade and century of the millennium this night will usher
This World Millennium Snapshot "holomorph" will be the largest,
and the first global, public art project. Its content will be taken from
millions of Millennium celebrants as they gather, in groups large and small,
to mark the genesis of the 2000's with a toast and an at-the-second snapshot.
The creation of the World Millennium Snapshot holomorph is in its first
phase now. Sponsors are lining up, with the vigor this massive project requires,
to pubicize the project world-wide. We hope that a whole range of large
companies with an obvious commercial interest in this massive photo-and-video-camera-utilizing
mega-enterprise will work together to publicize the Snapshot in their respective
continents and countries, and provide the means for the collecting of the
images and footage and sounds, and relevant geographical and identifying
text information, by wire, wireless, and post.
The second phase of preparation, is the design of the virtual world of
December 31st, 1999 - January 1st, 2000: the "holomorph" of the
World Millennium Snapshot. We need to design an elegant four-dimensional
navigable infospace. This space will represent the entire land-and-water
surface of the planet during the approximately 36 hours from the beginning
of the final sunset of the 1900s to the end of the first sunrise of the
2000s. Later, infused into it, will be an unlimited number of separate images,
moving picture sequences and sound streams.
The "dictionary lookup" method of using stored images in response
to commands will be used to electronically manifest specific image contents
when latitudinal, longitudinal points and elevations, or specified points
in time are accessed by post-Millennium cyber-travelers. The holomorph will
be created on the fly along the routes the voyeur-revelers spin themselves
It's completely possible the Millennium Holomorph will become the basic
four-dimensional skeleton of a permanent dynamic always-growing Virtual
Earth. This veritable time sponge may contain an unending quantity of archival
content from all over history before and following 2000 for the electro-journeyers
of the third millennium.
On the occasion of Millennium Night itself, a small army of pre-positioned
digital photographers will create visual geo-linear "axes" of
related images in reference to which the mass of other images can be spatially
oriented. In particular, a sequential east-to-west latitudinal series of
views of the final sunset of the 1000s and, in overlapping and succeeding
hours with the same cameras turned around, the very first sunrise of the
2000s in a continuous view moving around the world will be made.
Other geographical points to which the Millennium World Snapshot holomorph
might be oriented include the proposed "Beacon Millennium" bonfires
around the world, and any World Wide Webcams that are operating as one-frame-a-day-archiving
very-long-duration time-lapse visual record-making "TimeCams."
The World Millennium Snapshot carries the potential to bring together
people from each of the world's corners. They'll share in this grand celebration
of the coming of a new millennium. They'll create a crystal-clear, ever-lasting
image of a world and its residents at the birth of an era.
The final result, the interactive navigable holomorphic "spherical"
global database of millions of images and places and people and doings worldwide
as they exactly were at the close of 1999 and turn of 2000 will exist both
as a virtual world on the World Wide Web and, in a larger and richer version,
a massive interactive CD/DVD product.
Now all we have to do is make this happen!
but still massive participatory "rehearsal" of the World Millennium
Snapshot could be conducted on the occasion of the "MillenniumEclipse"
a third of a year earlier, when the final total solar eclipse of the 1000s
will occur across Europe and the Middle East on August 11th, 1999. Videographers
and photographers in the thousands should be invited and organized to create
images of the eclipse and the landscapes over which it happens and the human
activities attending it preceding, during, and following totality, creating
a navigable image database -- a holomorph -- of the "footprint"
(as astronomers call them) of the solar eclipse, organized along a geo-linear
axis of west-to-east sequential images down its center line.