Squidsoup’s Glowing Pathfinder Bugs get two trips to Brittany (France) this year. We showed them in St Brieuc in June (at ART ROCK) and we will be showing a new version of the piece (using a Kinect camera) at this year’s SCOPITONE festival in Nantes, in October.
The Bugs have also been travelling further afield than France. In January they were in Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, followed by a stay at the Salt Lake City Art Center. In June they were also spotted at Oslo’s Art-on-Wires festival, and last December they were in Wellington, New Zealand. There are rumours that they liked New Zealand and are planning to return…
The SITE Festival, “a festival of artist led projects in stroud gloucestershire”, will be showing two of our pieces as part of a long list of interesting local, national and international artists’ work.
Glowing Pathfinder Bugs, a playful piece commissioned by Folly, has been shown at several Portable Pixel Playground events in 2008 and 2009.
The bugs analyse the shape (topography) of the sand around them, preferring to move gently downhill. This means they can be shepherded, enclosed within walls of sand, encouraged to meet each other (at which point strange metamorphoses happen; they merge into larger caterpillars then, if you’re lucky, into butterflies. If they get frightened, they pop and disappear.
The unique ecology of Blackpool was augmented yesterday by the addition of a few very rare Glowing Pathfinder Bugs. Their presence was noted by many passersby at the Solaris Centre on 28th September, where Folly staged the latest installment of their Portable Pixel Playground tour.
Our man in Carlisle reports bad weather but enthusiasm never-the-less for the fascinating behaviour of the Glowing Pathfinder Bug. 6th July saw the first Portable Pixel Playground which was a success despite torrential rain and gale force winds.
Clear sighting of the pathfinder in two stages of metamorphosis
Preliminary reports from our researchers in Faroffistan confirm rumours of the discovery of a hitherto unknown creature – the Glowing Pathfinder Bug (Lat: Luminosis Flattus Virtua). The following footage has been dispatched from the field showing these strange creatures in their natural habitat. Our researchers are attempting to bring a few examples back home with them sometime in early August.
The Portable Pixel Playground commission for Folly is underway. The project aims to combine physical play (moulding the sand in a sandpit) with virtual animal husbandry, and is aimed at 6-12 year old kids.
For us it’s a great opportunity to make something solid, simple, fun, immediate and aimed directly at kids – something we haven’t done directly since the Virtual Puppeteers project… although it has to be said that children have explored and had fun with several of our other projects.
Virtual caterpillars, projected onto the sandpit, react to the physical topography of the sand, and can be enclosed by sand walls, scared by children’s hands and fingers, and attracted to each other. When they meet, magical things begin to happen…
Technically, the project uses a Point Grey Bumblebee stereo camera to capture depthmap information from the sandpit in real time – using software and ideas first developed for Driftnet during a Research Fellowship at Arts Institute Bournemouth in 2007. See here for another experiment with the Bumblebee.
Camera view of sandpit, and depthmap (red near, blue far)
Bumblebee on tripod
Physically, the piece is going to need to be strong – not only to survive the elements outdoors in a playground, but also to survive the children! Currently the ideas revolve around a large 3 or 4-legged dome-shaped structure (steel and tent material) that will shield the equipment and the sandpit itself from the elements, and also some light.