Thomas Ouellet Fredericks Artist / Programmer / Teacher

tof@tofstuff.com

Space Roar

2013

Work in progress, Unity, Generative Video



Roar is a monumental experience taking the form of two generative audiovisual projections. It offers a poetic interpretation of cataclysmic events. The earth is ripping apart and its inhabitants must escape in space towards a new unknown home. This convoy of spaceships is constructed with the use of geographical and sociopolitical data formed into a kind of DNA code that is used by the system to generate the numerous individual ships. Each nation is represented by a different 3D model built with this data and the system manages a million individual ships. The voyage is punctuated by random events to create a narrative – ships colliding, ships losing power because of programmed obsolescence, on-board mutinies, etc. Instead of using pseudorandom generators to control these events, probabilities are based on social statistics and the outcomes on real random atmospheric noise – linking real space with virtual space. The simulation is run on a persistent online server for a fixed amount of time at the end of which the voyage will be considered complete. But will any ships have survived till then?

As its previous inhabitants flee it, discontinued earth continues to crumble away. The crumbling accelerates or decelerates in synchronicity with real-time seismic data. There are clues that maybe this is not the first world than was settled and subsequently destroyed.

As an audiovisual experience, the project is presented on two different screens with the roar of the earth crumbling on one side and the roar of the ships fleeing on the other. As a whole the project addresses the use of meaningful data in digital art.

The project was made possible with an uncommon collaboration between the commercial multimedia firm Turbulent and I, an independent artist. The code for the generation of the spaceships and for the server are being released under the open source MIT license. The basic principles for the spaceship building algorithm and the basic spaceship parts are based on a project by Dolf Veenvliet (http://shapewright.com/).



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