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The Forest

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After finishing the computer animation version of “The Forest”, Waliczky began to work on the second, interactive variant of “The Forest”, in collaboration with Jeffrey Shaw and Sebastian Egner. Here, the animation becomes part of an interactive installation, based on a flight simulator whose cockpit is replased by a simple platform with a seat and a large monitor. Using a joystick mounted in the arm of the seat, the viewer can negotiate his own path through the forest which is shown on the screen in front of him. The flight simulator reacts accordingly, so that changes of speed or direction are experienced as phisical sensations. For this version, Sebastian Egner, who wrote the program and designed the control system for the platform, also designed a new method of constructing the visual image – for technical reasons it was not appropriate to use the previous solution. In the new version of the work, the drawings of the trees are not mounted on transparent cylinders but randomly arranged inside a huge cube, in which the camera is free to move in any direction the viewer chooses. In theory, when the camera reaches the side of the cube, it passes through into a new box of the same type, whith exactly the same trees; in fact, however, it reenters the same cube from the opposite side. Thus this space, too, appears infinite.


The flight simulator version of “The Forest” is significantly different from other flight simulator installations. It does not have a pre-recorded, linear structure to follow, like the techincally similar installations at the different amusement parks. It is also not a computer game: it does not have any goal to reach. (For example an airport to land or an enemy to destroy.) On the contrary: “The Forest” speaks about the purposeless of human actions. To test the flight simulator version of “The Forest” is a meditative experience.


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