The Ocean of Light project explores the creative and immersive possibilities of light-based visualisation in physical space. It uses bespoke hardware to create dynamic, interactive and three-dimensional sculptures from light.
Surface is the first artwork to be exhibited using the Ocean of Light hardware. It uses minimal visuals and sound to evoke the essence of character and movement. Autonomous entities engage in a playful dance, negotiating the material properties of a fluid surface.
The Ocean of Light project is a collaborative research venture, led by Squidsoup and supported by the Technology Strategy Board (UK). Partners include Excled Ltd and De Montfort University. Additional support and resources have been provided by Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway), Massey University, Wellington (New Zealand) and Centre for Electronic Media Art, Monash University (Aus). Squidsoup is a digital arts group specialising in immersive interactive installations within physical 3D space. Their work combines sound, light, physical space and virtual worlds to produce immersive and emotive headspaces. They explore the modes and effects of interactivity, looking to make digital experiences where meaningful and creative interaction can occur.
There are few courses as extraordinarily ambitious as the Interactive Environments Minor a semester-long project at TU Delft organized by the Faculty of Architecture – hyperBODY and Industrial Design and Engineering – ID-StudioLab.
“Throughout the course, three interdisciplinary groups of students supported by TU Delft researchers and guest teachers have designed and built three interactive lounge pavilions. The pavilions attract people to enter, facilitate relaxation and provide a refuge from daily chores.”
“Each of these structures is a dynamic system, which communicates with its visitors across different modalities. The installations not only actively adapt to their users’ actions, but autonomously develop a will and behaviour of their own. In this way interactive architectural environments come to life, engaging their occupants in an unprecedented experience of a continuous dialogue with the occupied space.”
While he’s been too modest to put his name up front on these projects, the real passion and brains behind this project has been Tomasz Jaskiewicz bringing together undergraduate students from a range of degree courses to create a unique design space occupied by programmers, engineers, architects and designers. I look forward to seeing how this evolves in future.
In January 2010 the Cologne based design agencies Grosse8 and Lichtfront presented their cross-media installation titled Augmented Sculpture. The core of the installation is a 2.5m tall wooden form that builds the screen for a 360° projection.
In constant transformation over a score by Jon Hopkins, the 2:32 minute performance is described by Svenja Kubler of Lichtfront as a “mirror of changing realities… a kind of real virtuality arises to confront virtual reality.” I’m not sure what that all means but I really like it.
Another piece of work from the Emergence Exhibition “Propagations” by Leo Nunez is a system of cellular automatons, made up by 50 robots. Different states emerge from this complex system. These states are defined not only by the interaction of the robots with the spectators, but also by the interaction of the robots with their neighboring pairs. I’ve been looking into CA based physical environments for a while with a few of my students who’ve been building them at the Bartlett’s Adaptive Architecture & Computation course (Marilena Skavara & Kensuke Hotta) but Leo Nunez’s piece deals with the interaction of CA systems in such a wonderfully analog way which is rarely seen today.
This work system also tries to investigate the man machine relation. The robots are unmanageable objects; thus, the control of these escapes the individuals and remains in the system itself, in the propagation of the information between the objects. The interaction of the users is mediated by a luminous interface keeping the body of the user away from the robots. This distance emphasizes the notion of the unmanageable objects, establishing a man-machine relation only mediated and more and more distant.
Each automaton is molded into a small robotic sculpture. The shape is given by the different electronic components necessary for its functionality. All the robots share the same electronic circuit design, but in their formality they are all different. Each cell or robot is constructed with Low-tech technology. This decision seeks to create a speech that establishes itself in a context of social criticism, generating an argument on the difference in the technology availability between the countries of the first world and the Latin American countries.
Leo Nuñez studied Systems engineering and image and sound design. He is currently finishing a degree in Electronic Arts at the UNTREF (Tres de Febrero National University, Buenos Aires). He works as a professor at IUNA (National University Institute or Art) offering programming and Electronic Art Workshops.