Ian Cheng

BOB

Cheng’s work explores mutation, the history of human consciousness and our capacity as a species to relate to change. Drawing on principles of video game design, improvisation and cognitive science, Cheng develops live simulations – virtual ecosystems of infinite duration, populated with agents who are programmed with behavioural drives but left to self-evolve without authorial intent, following the unforgiving causality found in nature.

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Martina Menegon

when you are close to me i shiver
sound design: Alexander Martinz
“when you are close to me I shiver” is an algorithmically controlled live simulation, a real-time generated virtual reality that takes place in a version of the future in which humans, out of desperation, gather in masses on the last remaining piece of land. Inspired by the walrus scene in the documentary “Our Planet” narrated by David Attenborough and produced by Silverback Films, the project proposes an intense scenario encompassing our environmental and personal crises. It reflects on how we identify and connect ourselves in different realities while addressing the human condition in a world in ecological and therefore social crisis. On the tablets, virtual cameras scan the environment from various point of views, like surveillance drones. On the main screen, a similar camera randomly targets and focuses on different situations while a familiar voice-over narrates the tragic story.

Maria Guta and Adrian Ganea

Cyberia

Performance & live computer generated simulation

A postmodern fairytale, Cyberia takes place somewhere in a cold distant East, stretching between and endless imaginary realm and a vast physical space. It is a westwards journey towards a promised future with no arrival and no return. There is no here or there, only a twilight zone between a departure point and a simulated destination. Between digital video projections and a physical setting, using the mechanics of a video-game engine with a motion capture suit, Cyberia is the simulation of an endless pre-climax state where a performer and a CG avatar dance as one to the rhythms of an imaginary West. In a world oversaturated by digital data –mysticism and paranormal are as popular as ever. Emerging technologies are increasingly incorporated in a form of postmodern spiritualism, as Arthur C. Clarke points out: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Pangenerator

Hash2ash
Installation touches on the themes of selfie-culture, and the fear of permanently losing the digital records of our lives due to technical failures, impermanence of data storage, or simply because of the obsolescence of the old digital file formats. Even with such compulsive overproduction of the images of ourselves we might end up with nothing but the blank memories of our past. Even the data on ourselves will eventually fade away… The installation consist of the display that prompts you to take a selfie on your phone, which it renders in digital particles on its large 1×1 meter screen. Then a moment later, your face scatters and falls apart and the real black gravel starts to fall at the bottom of the screen in perfect synchrony with the digital simulation. Gradually a dark mound builds up at the foot of the construction.

JON MCCORMACK

flicker

Flicker is an immersive electronic environment of generative image and sound. A collaborative work with Oliver Bown. Based on biological models of firefly behaviour, Flicker generates an ever shifting rhythmic, meditative environment to the viewer. Flicker uses 4 channels of synchronised high definition video and 8 channels of sound to immerse the viewer in a phenomenologically rich environment of artificial life. The work is a large-scale agent-based simulation, with each agent providing a rhythmic pulse at regular intervals. Agents try to synchronise their pulse with other agents in their immediate neighbourhood. The collective pulsations of groups of local agents are spatially sonified with int exhibition space. Over time, large groups synchronise at different rates, leading to complex visual and aural structures, syncopating and constant shifting in to a long term complexity.

Paula Perissinotto

As We May Feel
file festival

“As We May Feel” A parody of the 1945 text “As We May Think”, by Vannevar Bush What enduring benefits did science and technology bring to human beings? First of all, science and technology have extended the humans’ control on their material environment, helping them to perfect their food, their clothes, their dwelling, and gave them more security, allowing to live above the level of mere subsistence. Later on, they have permitted a wider knowledge of the biological processes that occur within our bodies, allowing the control of a more healthy and lasting life, always promising an enhancement of mental health. Finally, they contribute to the effectiveness of our communication. We have therefore a reason to live beyond survival — abundant health and efficient communication. And how do we deal with our existential feelings and conflicts? We don’t have time for our feelings, we can no longer ruminate them. We bury them in secret wishes without bigger consequences. Should we care more for our feelings? Negligence has been our way of cleaning our lives of sentimental values. When we cannot sweep them, we zip them and eventually access them to solve conflicts and/or to organize our thoughts. This project offers the access, through a click, to a central that points to a series of paths toward “As we may feel”. The content of this simulation of a phone center has as its aim to create an encyclopedia of existential feelings and conflicts that represent human life in contemporary society. Welcome to our call center!