Microworld Papay

January 2014

A microworld on a micro-island

Microworld Papay saw the creation of another living digital ecosystem - this time on a remote Orkney Island, Papa Westray as part of the Papay Gyro Nights arts festival. Over the course of a week we filled the garage space in the Art Centre, with multiple projections, computers and sensors which looked at each other resulting in cascading reactions around the room. The microworld was the most responsive yet - continuously changing as film projections and the audience moved around the space.

Click here to see photos from the Papay Gyro Nights festival on Flickr

Cascading interactions

This video shows the starfish and other pieces in response to a video wall showing a film by Ryo Ikeshiro . Ryo's generative fractal piece provided a series of geometric patterns for the starfish to dance around. The soundscape you can hear was produced by Julia Schauerman & Tim Pickup.

The Dancing Chicken

The video above was taken live during Papay Microworld showing people interacting with the Chicken (actually a Barn Owl skeleton filmed at the Beaney for PotLuck#9). The piece was programmed using Kinect and Processing.

We wanted to create as much interaction between artworks as possible so we installed 4 projections onto the walls of the space which looked at each other. This was the skeleton of the microworld and then we added various pieces around / on top of / between them. The starting point was a video wall on which we showed looped video footage from the island including tides and lichen and other island life forms. This was viewed by a webcam feeding the next piece which looked for certain colour combinations to activate it and so on around the room to the starfish and then on to the bubbles.


Squidlets occupied one wall. This piece worked by looking for RGB colors in the room - through a webcam which coud be moved around as needed. Each squidlet was a photo of one of the contributing artists. As the squidlet found food it would grow larger and if not shrink and fall to the bottom. More squidlets were added in as new artists and performers appeared at the festival.

Thanks to Ivanov + Chan for organising the festival and inviting us back to contribute our digital creations into the mix.

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