s q u i d s o u p . o r g

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art, research, play and immersive experience

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.

Discontinuum

A 3D visual deconstruction of time and space. Work in progress.

A camera feed is passed through physical space over time, creating imagery that contains fragments from a range of times simultaneously. Unlike a 2D image taken over a long duration – which would essentially be a blur – the time is ordered in the third dimension, as if time was flowing in a particular direction.

Seen from ahead, the image is superimposed on itself, similar to its 2D counterpart, but from other angles, the flow of time through space can clearly be seen. And from behind, time slowly fades away into the distance.

The project builds on ideas first implemented in squidsoup’s Freq2 – www.squidsoup.org/freq2

Discontinuum is a Squidsoup project, in collaboration with ETHZ and horao GmbH.

www.squidsoup.org www.nova.ethz.ch www.horao.biz

NOVA – visuals in 3D


Three days in Zurich experimenting with NOVA, a 3D LED grid system developed by ETHZ (Swiss Institute of Technology). Very interesting to see what works and what doesn’t. These images do not do the system justice: beside being 2D representations of a 3D visual, they don’t fully convey the shimmering beauty of NOVA, especially in the dark.

The ‘Baby NOVA’ is a 10x10x10 grid; this one was at Technopark, Zurich. The large one is a 50x50x10 grid, and is publicly viewable at Zurich Central Station.

Preliminary video rushes:

More images and slideshow available here.

NOVA websites: www.nova.ethz.ch and www.horao.biz

We tried out a range of effects and ideas; mainly randomness, dynamic 3D geometry, and a combination of 2D and 3D imagery; using the 3D grid to represent 2D imagery (mainly from a webcam in these experiments), but using all of the voxels/LEDs,and focusing on a single ‘sweet-spot’. The image is surprisingly clear from one viewpoint, but abstracted from any other position.

The large NOVA at the Central Station is relatively flat, and too high up for best results, but sweet-spot visuals and 3D geometries do still work, and have an extraordinary not-quite-there effect, as though they inhabit physical space yet are not there…

Solid light


… exploring the magnificent light properties of Aerogel (see earlier post here). This is a weird and wonderful substance. Projecting through it is akin to projecting in a smoke-filled environment, but it’s a solid space. These images don’t do the physical reality justice. More soon.