Aquarium

Aquarium

Extravagant forms unfurl over a 270-degree canvas, immersing — or submerging — audiences in a kind of reverse vessel, where they find themselves on display to curious underwater giants, like goldfish peering out from a bowl.

Code: Marpi
Audio: Bent Stamnes
Documentation: Alexa Melo
In collaboration with: The Midway Gallery

Aquarium is an experiment in organic procedural generation, visually inspired by the ornate, spiny beauty of lionfish, the merged flora-and-fauna qualities of seadragons, and the hypnotic patterns of cuttlefish.

Inspired by art of Chelley Sherman, with tropes of Arrival, Annihilation, and Matrix, the project is built using open-source libraries by Keijiro Takahashi and powered by Unity, reacting and responding to everyone who interacts with it.

Metal Tentacles
Metal Tentacles
Character in Motion
Character in Motion
Body interaction
Body interaction
Tentacles
Tentacles
Interactive audio visuals
Interactive audio visuals

Tentacles and feelers reach out to and around digital avatars, mapped by Kinect sensors; as audiences touch the forms, the forms touch back. Each gesture triggers a real-time, generative composition, mixed seamlessly from two hours of original music. This mix of inputs — time, algorithms, people tracking — becomes a dance and a soundtrack, playfully co-created on both sides of the screen.

Part of the New Nature series, Aquarium was installed at The Midway Gallery in San Francisco, California, between June - July 2018 and originally previewed at If So,What? and MUTEK.SF in April and May that year.