Microworlds are digital ecosystems. They can be enjoyed as immersive environments. They can also encourage active digital engagement.
There are several themes present in a Microworld :
Imagined future evolutions : the seed for our creatures was a New Scientist article on how the starfish simplified its brain. A decentralised network of sensors now control its body - feeling not thinking. We consider interactive art as a similar re-sensualizing of the audience.
Artificial Life : we use computer programs to explore life-like systems - not life as it is but “life as it could be”.
Digital Ecosystems : what happens when two interactive art works look at each other? Or a roomful? If one part of a system dies then what replaces it? How does an exhibition change over time?
Cascades : by building up complex cascades of action and reaction we can never know exactly what will happen next. We want the art to surprise us.
Open Play : Microworlds present a variety of engagements without rules – some immediately gratifying others requiring more care and attention.
Mutation & Morphology : many of our creatures are bizarre in appearance. Frankenstein like, they are collaged from a concoction of animal and vegetable matter. They can be both appealing and disgusting.
Biophilia : our Microworlds encourage empathy for natural systems. Audiences are inspired to contemplate the interlocking processes.
Do it with others : Microworlds encourage people to join in. To design creatures and other Microworld elements. To create, play and learn.