An interaction

"I enter a dark room and see a large bright sphere on the distant wall is it a planet, an eye, a cell? Its constantly shifting surface reveals layers of organic activity evoking both celestial and microscopic worlds. A swirling mass of translucent, moist fleshy matter that I think I recognise but which I cannot name. I move my hand through the light and discover that my shadow can set flesh pulsating."

 

Background

By the time we came to developing Mother, we had created four interactive artworks inspired by our explorations into imagined future human evolutions. We now wanted to create a unifying work to complete this series, a work that could draw our digital creatures together in some form of cosmology. Thus Mother takes inspiration from the mythological Greek Goddess Echidna the "Mother of all monsters", she is our containing creature and can be imagined to have given birth to all our creations.

Mother visually references the grotesque and transhumanism. The confusion of scale created by the collaging of disproportionate elements evokes both the macrocosmic and microscopic.

Mother represents a development in our research into code-driven video production and was produced as part of an AA2A residency at Camberwell College.

 

Technical description

Hardware · PC, projector + webcam (if presenting interactive version)

Software · Flash

Projection surface · floor or wall

Nature of interaction · shadow-driven (unencumbered)

Mother is a large-scale circular projection onto the floor or wall in a darkened gallery space. The positioning of the projector enables the active observer to direct their shadow onto the projected image. If the interactive version is being presented then their shadow can trigger action in the creature's muscles and flesh.

Mother is a code-driven, ever changing animation. The swirling mass has been collaged using digital photographs and video of both the artists' own bodies and the flesh of sealife brought together in the multimedia authoring program Flash. The code continuously pulls together random clips (from a library of over 600) in novel pulsating arrangements. The supporting soundscape has also been abstracted from nature.

Mother is our most contemplative work to date: people have watched it for more than 30 minutes, trying to make sense of its seemingly primordial being. We have shown Mother in various configurations but it works best projected on a large scale onto the floor where the viewer is drawn down into its depths. We have also presented a non-interactive 'seasonal' variation as an ever changing video.