In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of a Virtual Reality (VR) art piece—“Kites flying in and out of space” that was inspired by the kite-like art forms of French artist, Jackie Matisse. We use a physically based animation method known as the mass-spring model to realistically simulate the movement of these virtual kitetail forms in the CAVE VR theatre. In this immersive environment, the user can interact with these “virtual” kites by moving them, changing their imagery or adding a wind force. However, the real-time requirements imposed by immersive environments and the computational complexity in calculating these forms inhibit the number of kites we can “fly”. To address this limitation, we show how the use of distributed computing resources across the GRID can provide a scalable solution. Serendipitously, we also discovered that the movement of these virtual art forms became visual metaphors for the network performance and parameters. © 2003 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.