So. So. So., Somebody, Somewhere, Some Time

So.So.So. Somebody, Somewhere, Some Time

So.So.So. is an interactive installation that plunges the onlooker in the middle of the moment the one of photography which reveals a complex network of characteristic signs from our own experience of reality. What the visitor finds with the help of VR binoculars is a series of spherical panoramas which depict a moment, the same one, at 7.47 in the morning in different places involving different persons in different situations.

Somebody, Somewhere, Some Time.

Exploring these situations, the onlookers’ eyes linger on specific details. They quickly glance at others desperately in quest of a meaning in the apparent banality of the scene. When they focus onto an element of the picture they slide from one scene to another. So doing, they conjure up the transitions, understanding the editing, now created, of which they are the involuntary cause. Thus sliding from one topic to another, from one thing to another, they do not at once understand that, what is actually displayed on the screen is their very own story that is being written.

As a matter of fact, on a wide screen -being discovered by the audience outside the action- is the trace of the onlooker’s eyes painting the path of each visitor at their own pace. This is the ‘Collective Retinal Memory’ , a writing space, a dynamic palimpsest, in which, for some time, spreads out the story of the discovery, a particular reading that becomes a collective experience then. It is on the screen that can be seen the difference of the interpretations readable through the story of the moments of the individual attention.

From the Internet other readings are being developed simultaneously. The same pictures can be seen on line. The path of the Web users is written onto the Retinal Me m ory that beco m es unique, displayed in real ti m e in the exhibition and on de m and on the Net.The shared writing space and the confronted looks m ake So.So.So. a thrilling experience in which the obscenity of the others ongoing looks is unveiled by the CRM that, so doing, uncovers the inti m ate tropisms. This obscenity competes with the necessary complicity which reveals itself amid the fusion of the looks in a collective dynamic picture. In this non linear apparatus, the linearity of the narrative is built up by a chronology of individual experiences that erases an older trace, for a better transcription of a real time of the action.

Woody Vasulka and Steina reacting from inside to Maurice Benayoun’s interactive installation : So. So. So. Somebody, Somewhere Some Time.

To see live online demo of the artwork here.


Golden Gate Fly-Over

For the Golden Gate Fly-Over, it is productive to reevaluate its concept in alternative point view. Functioning more in the sense of geographical navigation, precise grid not only helps to orientate but also locate precisely. The unnaturally fast speed when people move around the trackball to navigate the Bay Area of S. F. tends to be offering an Omni-view on the area that is covered with pre-recorded footage. Since it is geographically oriented, the slight difference of time is reasonably omitted. Pushing these two a little further, if a story there during a period of time is to be told, how to reach the narrative requirement of telling a story with time axis added while still keep the spatiality? Directing to this function, some of the grids where nothing happens might mostly be omitted for footage so the narrative would be economic. Compelling shots might be realized by placing the camera lower other than a bird’s view.

Function of the pre-recorded footage is not a limited. “Limits to how we communicate limits what we communicate”. This is so inspiring to think how limited it might be for cinematic storytelling to be interactive and how to play with the limit where elements of time, space, event and physical input/interface come to together.

Golden Gate Fly-over is a moviemap of the San Francisco Bay Area from the air made the Exploratorium. We used a special gyro-stabilized helicopter camera and satellite navigation to film along a precise ten by ten mile grid centered on Golden Gate Bridge. This exhibit uses a single trackball as the input device, so it is very easy to use. It allows moving around the Bay Area at unnaturally fast speeds. The goal was not to re-create a helicopter ride as much as to create a hyper-real experience, something impossible to experience in the physical world.


Golden Gate Fly-Over

gate of bridge[1]

“Golden Gate Fly-over is a moviemap of the San Francisco
Bay Area from the air made the Exploratorium. We used a special
gyro-stabilized helicopter camera and satellite navigation to film
along a precise ten by ten mile grid centered on Golden Gate Bridge.
This exhibit uses a single trackball as the input device, so it
is very easy to use. It allows moving around the Bay Area at unnaturally
fast speeds. The goal was not to re-create a helicopter ride as
much as to create a hyper-real experience, something impossible
to experience in the physical world.” [2]




Home of the Brain


"The Virtual Reality installation »Home of the Brain« transfers the concept of the Stoa or the museum as public spaces for meetings and discussions into a virtual networked environment." [2]

"With the aid of a data glove and data goggles, one visitor at a time can navigate through images visible in the data goggles. At the same time, other visitors see these images on a projection screen or on monitors." [3]

"This first artistic Virtual Reality installation »Home of the Brain« was awarded with the Golden Nica of Ars Electronica in 1992" [2]




Sick Cat

At the rooftop entrance of Sick Cat [1]

“A strange and sad dream trip through an artist’s mind, reflecting his hopes and also fears,”Sick Cat” by Arahan Claveau  is an immersive multimedia installation contained within a giant checkerboard structure.

Claveau was the subject of a recent UK documentary on Second Life, and as that video suggests, he’s an installation artist with much on his mind.” [1]







‘The work breaks visual conventions of the genre by creating a claustrophobic, conceptual environment in which images take on iconic readings. A mix of photographs and unstable texts layer the simulated world to reframe the act of memory […] – Mary Flanagan'[2]



[2]: Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media, p.181

Legible City

In The Legible City the visitor is able to ride a stationary bicycle through a simulated representation of a city that is constituted by computer-generated three-dimensional letters that form words and sentences along the sides of the streets. Using the ground plans of actual cities – Manhattan, Amsterdam and Karlsruhe – the existing architecture of these cities is completely replaced by textual formations written and compiled by Dirk Groeneveld. Travelling through these cities of words is consequently a journey of reading; choosing the path one takes is a choice of texts as well as their spontaneous juxtapositions and conjunctions of meaning.

The handlebar and pedals of the interface bicycle give the viewer interactive control over direction and speed of travel. The physical effort of cycling in the real world is gratuitously transposed into the virtual environment, affirming a conjunction of the active body in the virtual domain. A video projector is used to project the computer-generated image onto a large screen. Another small monitor screen in front of the bicycle shows a simple ground plan of each city, with an indicator showing the momentary position of the cyclist. [1]



In ‘Breath’ the participant’s breath is projected onto four surrounding screens in the form of changing polygons by means of abstract computer graphics.

Credits:Production: HeliCopterlab, Eurocopter Deutschland und dem Städelschule, Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt.

Sound & DSP: Michael Saup, Sensors: Wolfgang Erhard, Bauten: Rene Römert, VR-Application: Bob O’Kane


The observer finds himself in a museum environment, a framed picture hanging on a wall. Upon coming closer, the viewer notices that exactly the spot of the picture he is looking at is changing under his gaze.

Our motivation for this project was the fact that, at the end of the 1980s, people were still looking at the computer primarily as a tool and not as a medium. The painter exchanged his brush for the mouse, but he used it to do almost exactly the same things that he once did on an analog basis. For us this was art with computers, not the beginning of computer art.

With this installation we have thus tried to promote one of the most important media qualities of the computer, namely interactivity. By purpose we have chosen the traditional museum environment. Also by purpose the painting we used was chosen: «Boy with a child-drawing in his hand» by Francesco Carotto (Renaissance 1.0). This painting shows the first documented child-drawing in art history – an adequate metaphor for the state of computer-art at the early 1990s.

A «framed» flatscreen displays the painting. Behind this screen we installed an eyetracker (camera and PC). The camera is pointing at the viewers eyes. The camera-images are sent to the PC where they are digitized. The PC analyses the videosignal and locates the reflections of an infrared-lightsource in the viewers eyes. With this it can calculate exactly on which part of the painting the viewer is looking at. These positions are then sent to a graphic workstation where an algorithm is distorting the picture exactly at these coordinates. This means that as soon as a viewer looks at a particular part of the picture this part is distorted.

If no one looks at the picture for more than 30 seconds the picture is regenerated to its original condition.

In the past an old master might leave an impression in the mind of the passive onlooker – now the onlooker can leave an impression on the old master.

Éphémère, Responsive Environment 1998

Ephémère is iconography evolved through Davies’ long-standing practice as a painter, and, as in Osmose, is grounded in ‘nature’ as metaphor: archetypal elements of root, rock, and stream etc. recur throughout. In Ephémère however, this iconographic repertoire is extended to include body organs, blood vessels and bones, suggesting a symbolic correspondence between the chthonic presences of the interior body and the subterranean earth.
While Osmose consisted of nearly a dozen realms situated around a central clearing, Ephémère is structured vertically into three levels: landscape, earth, and interior body. The body functions as the metaphoric substratum under the fecund earth and the lush bloomings and witherings of the land.

Ephémère is also structured temporally. Even as the immersant roams among all three realms, no realm remains the same. The landscape changes continually, passing through cycles of dawn, day, evening and night, from the pale of winter through spring and summer to the climatic decay of autumn. While the participant may spend an entire session in one realm, it is more likely that they will pass constantly between them, immersed in transformation.

Throughout, the various elements of trees, rocks, seeds, body organs, etc, come into being, linger and pass away. Their emergings and withdrawals depend on the immersants vertical position, proximity, slowness of movement, and steadiness/duration of gaze, as well as the passage of time: for example, in the earth, seeds sprout when gazed upon for any extended length of time, rewarding patient observation with germination, inviting entry into the luminous interior space of their bloom.

The only constancy is the ever-changing river: when the immersant surrenders to the pull of its flow, it metamorphosizes from river to underground stream or artery/vein and vice versa, summoning in the corresponding visual/aural elements of each realm. This strategy serves to provide a non-linear means of navigation through the three realms, in addition to that of the immersants breath and balance.

Deep within the earth, rocks transform into pulsing body organs, eggs appear, and aging organs give way to bone. After fifteen minutes of immersion, the experience slowly draws to a close, its endings dependent on the participants location, as the landscapes autumnal leaves, the earths roots and rocks, the bodys bones, give way to drifting ashes, embers and dust. No journey through Ephémère is the same.

All the transformations and interactions in Ephémère are aural as well as visual. While the visual elements pass through varying phases visibility and non-visibility, light and darkness—and in the case of the landscape, progress from the more literal to the abstract—the sound is also in a state of flux. Localized in three-dimensions and fully interactive as in Osmose, it oscillates between melodic form and mimetic effect in a state somewhere between structure and chaos, adapting moment by moment to the spatio-temporal context of the immersant within the work.

Ephémère was inspired by an actual place on the slope of a mountain in rural Quebec: its roots and rocks, seeds and streams, bloomings and witherings, appear in Davies work like apparitions. These days however, fewer songbirds return there to nest, frogs and salamanders have less young, and the maple trees are dying from acid rain from smelters in the American midwest. In some ways, Ephémère is a lament, an elegy, not only for the ephemerality of our own lives, but for the passing of the splendour of the natural world as we have known it.
The user-interface is based on full-body immersion in 360 degree spherical, enveloping space, through use of a head mounted display. In contrast to manually based interface techniques such as joysticks and trackballs, Ephémère incorporates the intuitive processes of breathing and balance as the primary means of navigating within the virtual world. By breathing in, the immersant is able to float upward, by breathing out, to fall, and by subtlety altering the body’s centre of balance, to change direction, a method inspired by the scuba diving practice of buoyancy control.

BodyScan (IN/OUT)

“To create BodyScan (IN/OUT), Austrian artist Eva Wohlgemuth had her own body accurately scanned and rendered digitally in three dimensions.Using this as a foundation, the artist subjected her digital body to a wide variety of transformations and re-contextualizations, disembodying her 3D self-portrait from the materiality of corporeal existence and setting it free, so to speak, in virtual reality and cyberspace.”[1]



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“As the artist wrote, ‘My artistic interest in the body is not based upon the wish to develop the perfect bodymachine with an extravagant new look or augmented functionality, but the psychological investigation of external and internal self-images of the new body representations. Through the transfer into multiple data formats we get a quite abstract new image of ourselves, which could lead to new visions and self-concepts. We could set other definitions – and find new stories about ourselves. History gets outdated, obsolete and questionable, there might be a switch to new emotional codes. The bodyclones are each telling another story about ourselves. What will the lives of these doubles and clones show us?’”[2]

The video below is BodyScan INOUT, 4 channel videoinstallation with flights through and over the rendered body,in 2002.


[1] Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media,p.42

[2] Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media,p.178

Paintings of Rene Magritte

“Magritte’s style of surrealism is more representational than the “automatic” style of artists such as Joan Miró.
Magritte’s use of ordinary objects in unfamiliar spaces is joined to
his desire to create poetic imagery. He described the act of painting
as “the art of putting colors side by side in such a way that their
real aspect is effaced, so that familiar objects—the sky, people,
trees, mountains, furniture, the stars, solid structures,
graffiti—become united in a single poetically disciplined image. The
poetry of this image dispenses with any symbolic significance, old or

“René Magritte described his paintings as “visible images which conceal
nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my
pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that
mean?’. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing
either, it is unknowable” [2]

Magritte’s constant play with reality and illusion has been attributed
to the early death of his mother. Psychoanalysts who have examined
bereaved children have said that Magritte’s back and forth play with
reality and illusion reflects his “constant shifting back and forth
from what he wishes—’mother is alive’—to what he knows—’mother is dead’

[1]: Frasnay, Daniel. The Artist’s World. “Magritte.” New York: The Viking Press, 1969. pp. 99-107.


[3]: Collins, Bradley I. Jr. “Psychoanalysis and Art History”. Art Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2, College Art Association. pp. 182-186.


A new kind of interaction: interaction with a shadow of other people.

“In 1973 Krueger coined the term ‘artificial reality’ to describe the responsive environments he created as part of his doctoral research on human-computer interface design. […] Although the term was not widely adopted, the idea was and Video Place is arguably the first work of art to employ what came to be known as virtual reality.”[1]

[1] Edward A.Shanken, Art and Electronic Media,p.166

Morton Heilig, Pioneer in Virtual Reality

Morton Heilig shooting his award-winning art film “Once,” courtesy of actress Marta Kristen (playing “Humanity” on the right).

“Heilig was inspired by the Cinerama, a technique that used three cameras to project movies onto an arced widescreen, expanding the area of viewing space for the audience. In his 1955 essay, The Cinema of the Future Heilig writes that Cinerama, as well as 3-D films, which had only recently entered widespread usage, was a logical step in the evolution of art: The really exciting thing is that these new devices have clearly and dramatically revealed to everyone what painting, photography and cinema have been semiconsciously trying to do all along — portray in its full glory the visual world of man as perceived by the human eye. Heilig wanted to expand this replication of reality beyond the available senses of sight and sound to create the future cinema after which he named his essay. Heilig begins his study of the cinema of the future, not by examining the relationship between film and viewer, but by trying to learn, “how man shifts his attention normally in any situation”(1955/2002).
Heilig’s study of attention deals with which of each of the five senses are being used at any given point in an experience.Heilig also identified the various organs that were, “the building bricks, which when united create the sensual form of man’s consciousness”: the eye with 180 degrees of horizontal and 150 degrees of vertical three dimensional color view; the ear, able to discern pitch, volume, rhythm,sounds, words and music; the nose and mouth detecting odors and flavors; the skin registering temperature, pressure and texture (1955/2002).
The goal of future cinema, said Heilig, was to replicate reality for each of these senses. He advocated theaters that would make us of magnetic tape with separate tracks for each sense — the intensity of odors to be piped in through air conditioning systems, moving pictures that extended beyond the peripheral vision, stereophonic sound delivered by dozens of speakers. Sensory stimulations would be provided in the proportions at which they naturally occurred (as listed above). Attention would be directed and maintained not through use of cinematic tricks, but by mimicking the natural focusing functions of the human eye. Through the creation of multi-sensory based theatric, man would better learn to manipulate the “sense materials,” to develop and arrange greater forms of art (1955/2002). With these procedures, based on the natural biology of man and applied to the methodology of art, Heilig believed that, “The cinema of the future will become the first art form to reveal the new scientific world to man in the full sensual vividness and dynamic vitality of his consciousness” (1955/2002).Unfortunately,Heilig’s ideas met with the same problem that he cites in his essay as delaying the development of 3D and films with sound: short-sighted financiers unwilling to provide funding. Before writing the essay, Heilig had already pitched his ideas in Hollywood, had them roundly rejected, and moved to Mexico City where he found them better received (Packer & Jordan, 2002, . In fact, “The Cinema of the Future” was originally published in Spanish, in the Mexican architectural journal Espacios.”[1]


Interview with Bill Seaman

In this interview Seaman is talking about the relationship between digital technology and creative art, intelligent machines, and machine senses. He sees that although art and science have different goals, they can do something together.

you can find more information about Bill Seaman and his work on:



Picture from

“Mary Flanagan is one of many New Media artists who work with computer games both as a medium and as a subject of investigation. domestic
is a computer game based on a commercially-produced game engine called Unreal Tournament, a popular “first person shooter” in which players enter an immersive three-dimensional environment and blast away enemies as they explore a labyrinthine warren of rooms. domestic
could be called a détournement of Unreal Tournament, a redirection of the popular game for artistic purposes. Whereas Unreal Tournament conveys a narrative of violent conquest typical of many popular games, Flanagan uses the game engine to create a home-like environment for the
exploration of childhood memories and feelings. Flanagan populates domestic
with photographic images and fragments of text that suggest internal turmoil rather than outward aggression, replacing psysical battles and demons with psychological ones.” [1]

“domestic is based on an event that took place when the artist was seven years old, in her home town in rural Wisconsin. As she walked down a wooded path on her way home from church, she noticed smoke billowing from the house’s windows and began to run frantically
towards her destination, knowing her father was inside. Flanagan re-creates this traumatic early memory in the architecture of the game space and the images and texts that cover its walls. The task of the game is to enter the house and put out the fire in the burning rooms.

domestic functions as an installation within the virtual environment of the game engine; Flanagan appropriates Unreal Tournament much as a conventional installation artist might approach the space of a gallery and transform it into a three-dimensional environment-as-art
work. In the case of domestic, Flanagan covers the walls of the cavernous space with images of woods, the family house, and photographs culled from family photo albums.

Like much of Flanagan’s work, domestic has a distinct feminist logic. In her work as a multi-media producer and educator, she developed one of the first interactive Web games for girls, The Adventures of Josie True, and worked on a collaborative educational project that helped teach young girls how to program computers via a networked game environment. In domestic, Flanagan replaces a narrative of external, physical conflict with one of internal, emotional exploration, suggesting that video games aren’t just for boys (and girls) who want to play war, but also for girls (and boys) who want to play house” [1]




Osmose (1995) is an immersive interactive
virtual-reality environment installation with 3D computer graphics and
interactive 3D sound, a head-mounted display and real-time motion
tracking based on breathing and balance. Osmose is a space
for exploring the perceptual interplay between self and world, i.e., a
place for facilitating awareness of one’s own self as consciousness
embodied in enveloping space.” [2]

“Immersion in Osmose begins with the donning of the head-mounted display and motion-tracking vest. The first virtual space encountered is a three-dimensional Cartesian
Grid which functions as an orientation space. With the immersant’s
first breaths, the grid gives way to a clearing in a forest. There are
a dozen world-spaces in Osmose, most based on metaphorical aspects of nature. These include Clearing, Forest, Tree, Leaf, Cloud, Pond, Subterranean Earth,and Abyss. There is also a substratum, Code, which contains much of the
actual software used to create the work, and a superstratum, Text, a space consisting of quotes from the artist and excerpts of relevant texts on technology, the body and nature. Code and Text function as conceptual parentheses around the worlds within.” [2]






«ConFIGURING the CAVE is a computer based interactive video
installation that assumes a set of technical and pictorial procedures
to identify various paradigmatic conjunctions of body and space. The
work utilises the CAVE technology stereographic virtual reality
environment with contiguous projections on three walls and the floor.
The user interface is a near life-size wooden puppet that is formed
like the prosaic artists’ mannequin; this figure can be handled by the
viewers to control real time transformations of the computer generated
imagery and the sound composition.

“ConFIGURING the CAVE» is constituted by seven differentiated pictorial
domains. Movement of the puppets body and limbs dynamically modulate
various parameters in the image and sound generating software, while
particular postures of the puppet cause specific visual events to
occur. Most significantly it is the action of moving the puppet’s hands
to cover and then uncover its eyes, which causes the transitions from
one pictorial domain to the next.

«ConFIGURING the CAVE» embodies a meta-language of functional
relationships between corporeal and spatial co-ordinates. These
relationships are both physical and conceptual, reflecting the
traditional attitude in many cultures of conjecturing the body as the
locus and measure of all things. At the same time it puts that
tradition in a post-modern exigency which exposes the fragile
covariance of a representative surrogate body now located in a
measureless space of reticular forms.” [1]


VR installation

“The idea for «Memory Theater VR» is based on historical models, which
contained contextually defined archive rooms, whose messages were
disclosed through certain visual codes and in many respects can be
considered the forerunners of our current virtual computer
architecture. […] The interactive installation creates dynamic
reference systems of an intermedia nature.
Agnes Hegedüs reawakens these historical associations. They are
supplemented by reference to the auditorium. The rotunda which
determines the borders of the environment in the real room is made into
a place for the presentation of a virtual reality. An interactive film
on the history of deception in space, is cleverly staged through a
doubling of the situation in the interface. These concepts of virtual
reality are basedd on works by Libeskind and Ivan Sutherland; along
with concepts of Lewis Carroll’s «Alice in Wonderland» and cabinets of
curiosities. The comparison of mannerist, futurist, or even
deconstructivist virtualities makes the stay in the panorama an
exciting experience. It is supplemented with quotations from the
artist’s work, which can be seen as a manifesto of a continuous
fascination with fantasy.” [1]

VR installation




In the video Myron Krueger explains the Videoplace installation.

About Videoplace

In Videoplace Krueger combines some ideas from his older installations Metaplay or GlowFlow.

Myron Krueger works on Videoplace until 1984. He modifies it regularly and finally develops 25 different programs which can run on the installation. Each program is defined by different interactions between the visitor and the installation.

One program is called “Critter”, where a small green creature (“Critter”) is “playing” with the visitor. As the visitor puts forth it’s hand, the creature sits down on it. From there on it tries to reach the highest point of the person, and if it reaches it, it starts a dance.

In 1990 Myron Krueger’s Videoplace is awarded with a Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica in the category “Interactive Art”, which was given for the first time this year.

See also:

Source: Söke Dinkla – Pioniere Interaktiver Kunst.

Von 1970 bis heute: Myron Krueger, Jeffrey Shaw, David Rokeby, Lynn Hershman, Grahame Weinbren, Ken Feingold.

ZKM Edition, Cantz: Ostfildern 1997, 272 Seiten, zahlr. Abb.

ISBN: 3 89322 923 X


Metaplay Setup Plan

In Metaplay Krueger tries to concentrate on the interactive possibilities of the computer.

He creates a Closed-Circuit video installation where he uses a projector instead of the common TV-screen. By using a projection, the audience should be immersed stronger, as almost the whole view of sight is filled by the projection. This setup, using a projection and a computer, is widly used in later responsive environments.

The interaction happens as a visitor enters the room. A camera captures video-images from the visitor, which after an abstraction are projected on the wall again. The visitor sees an graphically reduced mirror image on the wall. Myron Krueger, who is located in another room, also gets this image on a screen. He can interact with the visitor, by drawing sketches with a graphic-tablet, which get merged with the image that is shown on the projection. Krueger can interact with the visitor via the video-projection.

Source: Söke Dinkla – Pioniere Interaktiver Kunst.
Von 1970 bis heute: Myron Krueger, Jeffrey Shaw, David Rokeby, Lynn Hershman, Grahame Weinbren, Ken Feingold.
ZKM Edition, Cantz: Ostfildern 1997, 272 Seiten, zahlr. Abb.
ISBN: 3 89322 923 X

Darwin (programming game)

“Tierra is a derivative of the computer programmers’ game Core War. And Core War was in part inspired by a game called Darwin.

Darwin was invented in August 1961 at the Bell Labs and played on an IBM 7090 Mainframe. A little discription of Darwin:

The game consisted of a program called the umpire and a designated section of the computer’s memory known as the arena, into which two or more small programs, written by the players, were loaded. The programs were written in 7090 machine code, and could call a number of functions provided by the umpire in order to probe other locations within the arena, kill opposing programs, and claim vacant memory for copies of themselves.

The game ended after a set amount of time, or when copies of only one program remained alive. The player who wrote the last surviving program was declared winner.

Up to 20 memory locations within each program (fewer in later versions of the game) could be designated as protected. If one of these protected locations was probed by another program, the umpire would immediately transfer control to the program that was probed. This program would then continue to execute until it, in turn, probed a protected location of some other program, and so forth.

While the programs were responsible for copying and relocating themselves, they were forbidden from altering memory locations outside themselves without permission from the umpire. As the programs were executed directly by the computer, there was no physical mechanism in place to prevent cheating. Instead, the source code for the programs was made available for study after each game, allowing players to learn from each other and to verify that their opponents hadn’t cheated.

The smallest program that could reproduce, locate enemies and kill them consisted of about 30 instructions. McIlroy developed a 15-instruction program that could locate and kill enemies but not reproduce; while not very lethal, it was effectively unkillable, as it was shorter than the limit of 20 protected instructions. In later games the limit on protected instructions was lowered because of this.

The “ultimately lethal” program developed by Morris had 44 instructions, and employed an adaptive strategy. Once it successfully located the start of an enemy program, it would probe some small distance ahead of this location. If it succeeded in killing the enemy, it would remember the distance and use it on subsequent encounters. If it instead hit a protected location, then the next time it gained control it chose a different distance. Any new copies were initialized with a successful value. In this way, Morris’s program evolved into multiple subspecies, each specifically adapted to kill a particular enemy.”

Excerpted from:

Darwin was one of the grandfathers of Tierra and programms that base on Tierra. It was a great and pathbreaking invention at 1961. It was one of the first simulations of life on a computersystem. There was an evolutionary process to improve the programms by the developers. But this process wasn’t done by the machine. In the Darwin-environment the programms could live/exist, reproduce themselfes and try to fight each other. And the developers had to made their programms better – this was an evolutionary process. In programms like Tierra the simulation of evolution will be done by the software and thats the major-difference to Darwin. But even then, Darwin is one of the earliest programms for simulation life and lifecycle-processes. Darwin was not and artwork in the direct way but it has build the base for many other life simulation programs.

Full description of the experience with Darwin

technical description of Tierra

Tierra is a computer simulation developed by ecologist Thomas S. Ray in the early 1990s in which computer programs compete for central processing unit (CPU) time and access to main memory. At present, the commonly accepted definition of life does not consider any computer program to be alive, however, Tierra is a frequently cited[citation needed] example of an artificial life model; in the metaphor of the Tierra, the evolvable computer programs can be considered as digital ‘organisms’ which compete for energy (CPU time) and resources (main memory). In this context, the computer programs in Tierra could be considered evolvable and can mutate, self-replicate and recombine.

Life on Earth is the product of evolution by natural selection
operating in the medium of carbon chemistry. However, in theory, the
process of evolution is neither limited to occuring on the Earth, nor
in carbon chemistry. Just as it may occur on other planets, it may also
operate in other media, such as the medium of digital computation. And
just as evolution on other planets is not a model of life on Earth, nor
is natural evolution in the digital medium.

The Tierra C source
code creates a virtual computer and its Darwinian operating system,
whose architecture has been designed in such a way that the executable
machine codes are evolvable. This means that the machine code can be
mutated (by flipping bits at random) or recombined (by swapping
segments of code between algorithms), and the resulting code remains
functional enough of the time for natural (or presumably artificial)
selection to be able to improve the code over time.

Along with
the C source code which generates the virtual computer, we provide
several programs written in the assembler code of the virtual computer.
Some of these were written by a human and do nothing more than make
copies of themselves in the RAM of the virtual computer. The others
evolved from the first, and are included to illustrate the power of
natural selection.

The operating system of the virtual computer
provides memory management and timesharing services. It also provides
control for a variety of factors that affect the course of evolution:
three kinds of mutation rates, disturbances, the allocation of CPU time
to each creature, the size of the soup, etc. In addition, the operating
system provides a very elaborate observational system that keeps a
record of births and deaths, sequences the code of every creature, and
maintains a genebank of successful genomes. The operating system also
provides facilities for automating the ecological analysis, that is,
for recording the kinds of interactions taking place between creatures.

system results in the production of synthetic organisms based on a
computer metaphor of organic life in which CPU time is the “energy”
resource and memory is the “material” resource. Memory is organized
into informational patterns that exploit CPU time for self-replication.
Mutation generates new forms, and evolution proceeds by natural
selection as different genotypes compete for CPU time and memory space.

ecological communities have emerged. These digital communities have
been used to experimentally examine ecological and evolutionary
processes: e.g., competitive exclusion and coexistence, host/parasite
density dependent population regulation, the effect of parasites in
enhancing community diversity, evolutionary arms race, punctuated
equilibrium, and the role of chance and historical factors in
evolution. This evolution in a bottle may prove to be a valuable tool
for the study of evolution and ecology.

taken from:

Evil Interiors

Movie props from famous (Hollywood) movies, rebuild in a 3D game engine.

Artist Website.

Article “Enter the Allosphere”

Detailed article with videos and images on the user experience inside The Allosphere.

Midas: A Nanotechnological Exploration of Touch

Abstract:  The Midas project investigates the trans-mediational space between skin and gold. Research for the project was conducted through the analysis of data recorded with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The AFM, in its force spectroscopy mode, gathers data by picking up the surface vibrations as the cantilever touches the cell. The Midas project culminated in an installation that included data projection and audio work utilizing subsonic speakers to make the data from the atomic vibrations audible and palpable.

“Midas: A Nanotechnological Exploration of Touch”

Leonardo Volume 42, Number 3 (June 2009), pp. 186-192.

For more on the project, see


This video is taken from a TV show about the software that Ivan Sutherland developed in his thesis at MIT's Lincoln Labs, "Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System", described as one of the most influential computer programs ever written.

The Midas project


Nanotouch Skin to gold.

Nanotouch Skin to gold.

The project Midas, uses developments in nanotechnology to explore the space between humans and objects at a nano level. This investigation analyses data recorded with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) in order to visualise the transference that occurs when humans touch a material.

The particle exchange that takes place between the skin and materials examines a scale within the human context, exploring below the cellular level. At an atomic level the body may be envisaged as having no spatial boundaries.

The emergent imaging methods of nanotechnology are generally based on an Old World order of a perspectivally constructed space. The Midas’ projects exploration of trans-interstitial spaces at an atomic level could provide a reconfiguration of our understanding of perspectival space. Nanotechnology offers new ways of exploring spatiality, while recapitulating the pervasive presence of perspectival systems. The Midas project deconstructs, investigates and even maps the challenges of post-perspective spatialities. [1]


 Images from the Enter3 Exhibtion Unsafe Distance Prague 2007 [2]

DSCN0148 [click to enlarge]

The Midas project, installation at the Enter 3 Prague 2007 presented a projection of a single cell where a genetic algorithm was written for semi autonomous self-organizing nanobots to affect the digital image. Photo © Paul Thomas

DSCN0181 [click to enlarge]

The Midas project, still from the Midas installation at the Enter 3 Prague 2007. Photo © Paul Thomas

DSCN0150 copy [click to enlarge]

The Midas project, still from the Midas installation at the Enter 3 Prague 2007. Photo © Paul Thomas

IMG_0323 [click to enlarge]

The Midas project, still from the Midas installation at the Enter 3 Prague 2007. Photo © Paul Thomas

DSCN0177 [click to enlarge]

The Midas project, still from the Midas installation at the Enter 3 Prague 2007. Photo © Paul Thomas

install1 [click to enlarge]

The Midas project, still from the Midas installation at the Enter 3 Prague 2007. Photo © Mike Phillips


[2] Images and text from:

Midas project from Paul Thomas on Vimeo.


For more information about The Midas Project and the work and research of Paul Thomas visit: or



Blue Morph

Blue Morph is an interactive installation that uses nanoscale images and sounds derived from the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Nanotechnology is changing our perception of life and this is symbolic in the Blue Morpho butterfly with the optics involved — that beautiful blue color is not pigment at all but patterns and structure which is what nano-photonics is centered on studying. The lamellate structure of their wing scales has been studied as a model in the development of fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technology such as that used in monetary currency. Blue Morpho has intrigued scientists for generations because of its subtle optical engineering that manipulated photons. Today, its dazzling iridescent wings are giving rise to a market trying to mimic its wonder and create a counterfeit proof currency and credit cards. The optics are no doubt fascinating but the real surprise is in the discovery of the way cellular change takes place in a butterfly. Sounds of metamorphosis are not gradual or even that pleasant as we would imagine it. Rather the cellular transformation happens in sudden surges that are broken up with stillness and silence. Then there are the eight pumps or “hearts” that remain constant throughout the changes, pumping the rhythm in the background. During the transformation to emergence each flattened cell of the wing becomes a nanophotonic structure of black protein and space leading to iridescence.

Nano is not only making the invisible visible but also changing our way of relating to “silence” or making the in-audible audible. With all the noise of chattering technologies and minds, we propose the interactivity to be stillness for in this empty space of nano we can get in touch with the magic of continuous change. But most of all we embrace the absurd and in a surge of laughter recognize our limited human viewpoints.

The piece emerges in sound and pattern only when the viewer is STILL and SILENT.

Inserted from:<>

blue morph


Blue Morph – Surges of Nanocellular Transformations. Nov. 9th 2007, Prague.


More pictures and videos:



Documentation of Blue Morph by Claes Andersson



The Zero@wavefunction installation and interactivity is based on the way a nanoscientist manipulates an individual molecule (billions of times smaller than common human experience) projected on a monumental scale. When a person passes by, they cast a larger than life shadow on the molecule and activate responsive buckyballs. The visualizations are of buckyballs that respond via sensors to the movement of the person’s shadow and the possibility of manipulating the molecule emerges.

Inserted from:<>

people interacting with buckyballs


NANO : An Exhibition of Scale and Senses


When asked by the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Lab what was the greatest challenge faced by contemporary museums, we responded: to accept science as culture; and to pave the way forward for scientists as artists, artists as scientists and creativity in collaborative teams.

Find a full version of the article at: NANO : An Exhibition of Scale and Senses. Leonardo – August 2005, Vol. 38, No. 4, Pages 310-311.

Nanotechnology: The Endgame of Materialism


Imagine that one could arrange atoms in any form one wanted: What would one create? What kind of mind would it take to change the world through this metamorphosis of rearrangement and design? The ultimate endgame of our current technological capability to make material things is determined by our own creativity. The author examines how technological interfaces join the human mind to objects of experience from the nanometric to the planetary scale and theorizes the impact this perceptual condition will have on the personal and collective psyche.

Find a full version of the article at: Nanotechnology: The Endgame of Materialism. Leonardo – June 2008, Vol. 41, No. 3, Pages 259-264.

The Art Newspaper – AES+F Interview

“We see ourselves as vampires when it comes to the work of other artists.”

In the interview AES+F talks with The Art Newspaper about their work ‘Last Riot’, which has been presented at the Venice Biennale 2007, and their success over the last year. The introduction says:

One of the most talked about works at the last Venice Biennale was a slick digitalised three-screen video in the basement of the Russian Pavilion in which a host of beautiful youths worthy of any Gap ad engaged in stylised slow motion battles in a fantasy landscape to the strains of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung”. The piece was Last Riot by the Moscow-based collective AES+F—the name comes from the initials of members Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovitch and Evgeny Svyatsky, who joined forces in 1987, with photographer Vladimir Fridkes arriving in 1995. Although the group were no strangers to the art world, this epic, bleakly futuristic extravaganza has catapulted it onto the international stage. They have just had a major exhibition at Macro in Rome and this month they open their first UK solo show at RS&A which then tours to Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, the Salzburg Museum and the Ormeau Baths in Belfast.

The whole article, which was originally published in Issue 192 of The Art Newspaper in June 2008, is available at:“We-see-ourselves-as-vampires-when-it-comes-to-the-work-of-other-artists-On-the-eve-of-their-latest-show-we-talk-to-the-Russian-collective-AES-F-about-multiculturalism-the-market-and-their-new-work/8586

The Islamic Project

Islamic project started on 1996 as an installation and performance with interactive communication with public: purchasing souvenirs, filling questionnaire concerning their opinions about Future. It works as a kind of social psychoanalysis – visualization of fears of Western society about Islam.‘ [1]

The Islam Project had a duration from 1996 until 2003 during which many artworks have been created. More details on these can be found at

Islam Project: Bedouin Oasis 

[2] The Islam Project: Beduin Oase

The Islam Project: New Liberty 

[3] The Islam Project: New Liberty



[2] The Islam Project: Beduin Oase

[3] The Islam Project: New Liberty

The Feast of Trimalchio

The artwork ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ was shown at the opening of the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. It is part of the collective work of russian artists called ‘Unconditional Love’ [1].

‘Gaius Petronius Arbiter was the great wit and melancholic lyric poet of Nero’s
reign. ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ (Cena Trimalchionis) is the best-preserved part
of Petronius’s ‘Satyricon’. Thanks to him, Trimalchio’s name became synony-
mous with wealth and luxury, with gluttony and with unbridled pleasure.

We searched for an analogue in the third millennium and found that the mo-
dern-day Trimalchio, the host of feasts lasting several days, is less a single per-
son than the collective image of a five-star hotel; a temporary paradise which
one has to pay to enter. Developing the metaphor we observed that the life of a
luxury hotel reflects Petronius’s description of endless feasting and enjoyment.
Even to the extent that there are guest-‘masters’ and staff-‘servants’.

The ‘masters’, regardless of background or race, are all from the land of the
Golden Billion. They’re keen to spend their time, in any season, as guests of
the 21st-century Trimalchio who has spared no expense in building his palace.
It’s situated on an island which is the perfect combination of exotic locations.
Trimalchio’s guests, along with their luggage, arrive by plane and cruise li-
ner. The palace-hotel is designed as an absurd combination of ski resort, golf
course, tropical beach and equestrian trail. The ‘masters’ wear white. Their
clothes are reminiscent of the robes of the inhabitants of the Garden of Eden,
or of traditional colonial dress, or a cruise collection by a leading designer.

The ‘masters’ have all characteristics of the human race – they are all ages,
types and social backgrounds. One can distinguish a university professor from
a broker; a society lady from an intellectual. Trimalchio’s ‘servants’ are young,
attractive and multi-racial and work in the huge hotel as housekeeping staff,
waiters, cooks, gardeners, security guards, masseurs. They’re eternally busy
with the endless celebrations. Although similar in appearance to the models in
the Benetton ads, they’re not dressed in fashionable clothing but in brightly co-
loured ‘ethnic’ uniforms. The exotic ‘servant’ is important to Trimalchio’s brand
as a metaphor for contemporary globalism. At the same time they’re a little
like the brightly coloured angels of a Garden of Eden to which the ‘masters’ are
temporarily admitted.

The atmosphere at Trimalchio’s feast can be seen as an absurd combination of
separate realities – from the sumptuous ‘open buffet’ and a la carte restaurants
to the endless range of leisure options (massage and golf, swimming and sur-
fing, etc). This is a strange symbiosis of pleasures whose combination makes
no sense. The ‘servants’ are more than attentive service-providers. They are
participants in the celebration, bringing alive the fantasies of the ‘masters’,
be they erotic or masochistic. Sometimes the ‘masters’ end up wooing the ‘ser-
vants’ and are at their beck and call. ‘Servants’ and ‘masters’ take part in an
orgiastic gala dinner, a feast, where roles change unexpectedly and the absurd
appears so natural that participants and viewers are convinced and behave as
if the situation is normal. This complete impossibility and senselessness is the
banality of Eden.

Outwardly Trimalchio’s feast resembles Watteau’s scenes of gallant celebra-
tions, baroque triumphs or feasts at Cana, where water transformed to wine
surprises no-one.’ [2]

Some related pictures and a video of the work can be found on the website of AES+F’s curator Claire Oliver [3].




Last Riot

In this new world the real wars look like a game on, and prison tortures appear sadistic exercises of modern valkyrias. Technologies and materials transform the artificial environment and techniques into a fantasy landscape of the new epos. This paradise also is a mutated world with frozen time where all past epoch the neighbor with the future, where inhabitants lose their sex, and become closer to angels.’ [1]

The piece ‘Last Riot’ was developed between the years 2005-2007.


The Allosphere

The AlloSphere

The AlloSphere is an extremely interesting project, still under development that works at the fusion-point of math, science and art.

“The AlloSphere. It’s a three-story metal sphere in an echo-free chamber. Think of the AlloSphere as a large, dynamically varying digital microscope that’s connected to a supercomputer. 20 researchers can stand on a bridge suspended inside of the sphere, and be completely immersed  in their data.

Imagine if a team of physicists could stand inside of an atom and watch and hear electrons spin. Imagine if a group of sculptors could be inside of a lattice of atoms and sculpt with their material. Imagine if a team of surgeons could fly into the brain, as though it was a world, and see tissues as landscapes, and hear blood density levels as music. This is some of the research that you’re going to see that we’re undertaking at the AlloSphere. […]”

 – JoAnn Kuchera-Morin

Inserted from: <>


More info:

Beyond Pages

Beyond Pages(1995) is a project from Masaki Fujihata. you can see a very attractive way of interaction.

“The data projector loads images of a leather bound tome onto a tablet which a light pen activates, animating the objects named in it – stone, apple, door, light, writing. The soundscore immaculately emulates the motion of each against paper, save for the syllabic glyphs of Japanese script, for which a voice pronounces the selected syllable. Stone and apple roll and drag across the page, light illuminates a paper-shaded desklamp; door opens a video door in front of where you read, a naked infant romping, lifesize and laughing, in. In the middle pages, kanji letters scroll breakneck under the nib of your pen. Lifting it selects a word. We ask the Japanese of our random selection, ‘Does it mean anything?’ and they say, ‘Well, it says something, but it doesn’t mean anything’. And it says, oh, I don’t know: fish, walk, watch, and the ideographs sit in disarray where they tumble on the page. Something of the accident of language, its random illumination of the world, shines up from the page. An illuminating illuminated manuscript (like Simon Biggs’ 1991 alchemical book) opens and leafs through with a gesture, more direct than metaphor, more subtle than allegory, of the digital text, book as light source.” [1]

“In this way, Fujihata playfully explores the relationship between real and virtual objects. He asks viewers to consider the nature and the future of the book, not only as an interface for storing and accessing information but as a portal for additional forms of knowledge and creativity. The artist seeks to provide a ‘sensory tool to use in recognizing objects in a new way – similar to the system of a good poem, which opens people’s minds.’” [2]


[2]: Edward A. Shanken, Art and Electronic Media, p.173

Eau de Jardin

“Eau de Jardin” is an interactive installation which transports visitors into the imaginary world of virtual water gardens. The image of “Eau de Jardin” consists of a triptych, a three-sided projection screen onto a 12 x 3 meters vaulted screen that creates an immersive and reflective virtual water garden.

8-10 glass amphorae hang from the ceiling of the room. Their form reminds to old Greek or Egyptian transport vessels. They are completely transparent and contain water plants such as lilies, lotus, bamboo, cypress and other aquatic plants. Through the glass we can also see the roots of these plants.

Interaction: When visitors approach themselves towards the amphorae, the plants capture the visitors presence and use the occurring tensions to draw virtual water plants on the large projection screens. The virtual plants on the screen resemble the real aquatic plants in the amphorae.
The images of the virtual plants are reflected through a virtual water surface and a merging between virtual plant imagery and reflected plant images occurs.
The more visitors interact with the real plants the more the virtual scene of aquatic plants builds up on the screen and all changes in the users’ interactions are translated and interpreted. This leads to constantly new water garden images as their composition reflects the visitors’ amount of interaction with the real plants.

Reality-Virtuality-Reflection: Christa Sommerer is an internationally renowned media artist working in the field of interactive computer installation.
Since 1992 Sommerer collaborates with French media artist Laurent Mignonneau. Their interactive artworks have been called “epoch making” (Toshiharu Itoh, NTT-ICC museum) for pioneering the use of natural interfaces to create a new language of interactivity based on artificial life and evolutionary image processes.
Their collaboration has been influenced by the combination of their different fields of interest, including art, biology, modern installation, performance, music, computer graphics and communication. Sommerer and Mignonneau have won major international media awards.





Pico Scan

The modeling of artificial evolution is a major challenge in Artificial Life research as well as for Artificial Life artworks. In the past they have developed several interactive computer art systems that use artificial life principles in combination with user-machine interaction. The underlying aim of these systems is to study the application of Artificial Life principles to the creation of self-sustaining and evolving interactive artworks.

In 2000 they developed an interactive system called PICO_SCAN. It is an interactive installation that allows users to measure and capture their users various body data and links them to the creation and evolution of artificial life creatures. The PICO_SCAN system consists of 5 PICO_SCANNER interface device and 5 plasma video screens. When the user picks up the PICO_SCANNER and scans along her body she generates various input data that are specific to her own body characteristics. The collected data information is then used to generate artificial life creatures that can feed on these color values provided by the users video image