DK City is an online urban community created by artist Lindsay Perth. The work was created during the artist’s residency in Glasgow, a collaboration between New Media Scotland and Street Level.
The design, events and people that inhabit DK City developed from collaborative discussion and workshops between the artist and 4 young people from a truancy unit based within the Douglas Inch Centre, Glasgow.
Online virtual reality and 3D environments have come to be associated with their potential for escape, the hiding of identities and utopian ideals. The constructs which have evolved around this form of media reflect these aims: avatars, fantasy roleplay and idealised futurist landscapes.
The young people who worked on this project have quite a different agenda in mind. They have chosen to depict scenes from their own existence, or at least semi-fictional versions of the same. The portrayal of scenes of alienation and urban dereliction (the “decay city” of the title) reveal much about the young people’s attitude to the utopian planning concepts which shaped Glasgow’s architecture during the late 20th Century. By choosing to make this explicit through vrml technologies, they deliver a critique of the way we view and use such techniques, implying a failure of the dream of a ‘perfect’ networked society. At the same time there is much humour to be found, and an intelligent grasp of influences from other genres of 3D computer graphics, from games to cinema and television. The end result is a multi-layered portrait of a city as they see it, with the quirks and foibles of everyday life intact, rather than antialiased out of the picture.