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art, research and play in creative interaction design

SIGGRAPH 2016

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A brand new version of Submergence was premiered at this year’s SIGGRAPH in Anaheim, Los Angeles. We had a great position in the art gallery which, this year, was curated by Jonah Brucker Cohen, and also featured works by nine other digital artists working on the theme of ‘Digital Materialities‘.

The piece used our ‘Ocean of Light’ rendering engine (written in C++/oF, more details on that soon), combined with an infra-red laser scanner (also controlled using oF), a Beads-based generative audio system and synchronisation using a separate Processing app. The OoL engine, developed in part to work real time for VJ collaborations with Purity Ring and Four Tet, is now flexible enough to create a wide range of controlled volumetric effects, from form rendering to particle systems. Watch this space…

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SIGGRAPH 2016, Anaheim Convention Centre, Anaheim, Los Angeles CA, USA. 24-27 July 2016.

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Ocean of Light – Surface – Kinetica 2010

We have just emerged from six days in a black box at the Kinetica Art Fair, nurturing Surface, the first project on the Ocean of Light 3D LED grid. It was an intense period, with apparently some 10,000 people passing through in three days.

Surface is a responsive virtual eco-system that occupies physical space.  It uses a room-sized 3D grid of individually addressable points of light to simulate movement in physical space. The space is dominated by a surface – the boundary between two fluid virtual materials.  The materials are affected by sound – nearby noises create waves that ripple across the surface.  The surface is, however, unstable: the turbulence caused by noise also triggers luminous blasts. Abstract insect-like autonomous agents, aware of their surroundings, also navigate and negotiate the environment and the surface.  The result is a series of interconnected spaces and environments, overlapping physical and virtual spaces that coexist and are aware of each other.

For us, it was also an intense learning experience.  The first outing for the Ocean of Light, a hardware project supported by the Technology Strategy Board, was a litmus test for whether this kind of 3D visuals work on the uninitiated – whether people “get it”. It seems that they do – responses were very positive. We’ve also had a lot of ideas – our own and suggested by others – about future directions and options.

Press coverage included this on BBC News and this on the Daily Telegraph.

The images here are taken from a forthcoming documentary on the project by James Lane – details to follow.