Universitat de Barcelona – Virtual Campus™
Virtual Campus™ is the soundtrack to the Intranet of the Universitat de Barcelona.1 But it’s too bad that the virtual campus lost its funding in ’97 to make way for that new odontology laboratory and can now only be accessed through a complicated backdoor on the servers in the computer sciences building after surviving deletion following a few departmental shake-ups, later becoming corrupted after several crashes and a few-too-many .zip compression algorithms.
It’s all there though: the log-in jingle with that excited spinning globe, the crossfade when clicking on “Biblioteca,” and the video recording of the ’93 commencement ceremony. It’s just a shame that the globe spins slightly too fast now, that the crossfade repeats itself at random intervals that interrupt workflow, and the video recording can’t playback certain sections due to fidelity loss. The Virtual Campus™ used to be quite a treat of the early digital age, when universities were putting in major bucks to create their on-line analogs and be ahead of the curve.
Virtual Campus™ stands as a curious relic, a cool example of early experiments in digital design, graphic interfaces, and user access. It also stands as a disconcerting lesson in the uncanny valley of the early Internet era: visitors can tell that these icons, introductions, and jingles are all functioning, but their corruption from years of compression, editing, and have created a ghoulish facsimile of their original intent at a welcoming alternative to a physical study center. The Virtual Campus™ is a creepy window into the glitchy comedown of the dot-com burst, and what might be happening to all of those old web sites still running on someone’s back-up server..2
1. Eco-friendly University – (1:54)
2. お星さま きらきら – (4:13)3
3. Virtual Campus Login [✔] – (2:09)
4. #UB Like Home™ – (2:22)
5. Late Night Library / Erasmus – (3:04)
6. Examinations / わたしが かいた – (3:11)4
7. Art アートギャラリー Gallery – (2:24)5
8. MónUB Celebration – (4:18)
9. 形而上学的ムーブメント – (7:00)6
10. Virtual Campus Logout [✘] – (1:32)
1… no connection to the actual Universitat de Barcelona.
2Ever been on ActiveWorlds?
3Japanese translation: “The stars twinkle”
4Japanese translation: “I wrote”
5Japanese translation: “Art gallery”
6Japanese translation: “Metaphysical movement”