Artificial Nature is a research project by Haru Ji and Graham Wakefield, creating a family of interactive art installations surrounding humans with biologically-inspired complex systems experienced in immersive mixed reality. The invitation is to become part of an ecosystem rich in living feedback networks, but not as its central subject. Although artificial natures are computational, we draw our inspiration from the sense of open-ended continuation and the aesthetic integration of playful wonder with the tension of the unfamiliar recalled from childhood explorations in nature. By giving life to mixed reality we’re anticipating futures inevitably saturated in interconnected computational media. However we believe computation is not intrinsically utilitarian, nor in opposition to nature; we see it instead as a material means to plunge even more deeply into what nature is, and find our place within it.
Since 2007, Artificial Nature installations have counted forty exhibits across nine countries, including festivals such as SIGGRAPH (Yokohama, Hong Kong), Microwave (Hong Kong), and Digital Art Festival (Taipei), conferences such as ISEA (Singapore) and EvoWorkshops (Tubingen), venues including La Gaite Lyrique (Paris), ZKM (Karlsruhe), CAFA (Beijing), MOXI and the AlloSphere (Santa Barbara), and City Hall (Seoul), as well as recognition such as selection in the international 2015 VIDA Art & Artificial Life competition and the 2017 Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality showcase.
Artificial Nature: Insuperposition, 2018
Sand + sculpture with projected augmented reality, motion sensing, head-mounted virtual reality, large-scale projection.
As with its parents Archipelago and Inhabitat, Insuperposition is an ecosystem of vegetal and motile creatures subsisting on island-like topologies -- in this case five laser-cut topographies created by a combination of hand and algorithm, covered with a non-drying sand to allow reshaping. Visitor's shadows destroy and refertilize the land, and movements distribute thousands of seeds through the spaces between islands. With the VR headset visitors are shunk to about an inch upon the islands, surrounded by foraging lifeforms, chirping their songs around the worlds. The change of spatial scale is echoed in a change of temporal scale on the large gallery wall, where a slow timelapse-scan around the islands gradually unfolds.
> With the assistance of York U students Michael Palumbo, Nicholas Abbruzzese, Andrew Sidsworth, Nicole Skrypuch and Alex Zonta.
- Daejeon Bienalle 2018 "Bio", Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, Korea. 2018-07-16 - 2017-10-24.
> Exhibiting alongside works by Suzanne Anker (U.S.A.), Pei-Ying Lin(Taiwan), Gilberto Esparza (Mexico), Stelarc (Australia), Philip Beesley (Canada), CHOE U-Ram (Korea), Heather Dewey-Hagborg (U.S.A.), Drew Berry (Australia), Pinar Yoldas (U.S.A.), BCL (Austria/Japan), Art Orienté Objet (France), Agi Haines (UK), KIM Hyungjoong (Korea), Louis-Philippe Demers (Canada/Singapore).
Artificial Nature: Conservation of Shadows, 2017
330kg salt, 12 nD::Node Arduino boards, 140 vibration motor-driven bells, 150m wire, Kinect sensors, projector, HTC Vive HMD.
A site specific work for a gallery in the Seoul Innovation Center that was previously occupied by the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention for medicinal storage and animal experimentation. For this historically charged space we imagined unknown new beings growing fond of the wet texture of old wood, the fragrance of sunshine smeared between cracks, and the quietness of murmuring and whispering. To let them live, we extended senses to mix realities surrounded by softly ringing bells and the crunch of salt underfoot as their shadows pass by; and an alternate perspective through head-mounted display in which we become the shadows around which new beings play.
> With special thanks to Mark-David Hosale and students of the Digital Media program at York University (Adiola Palmer, Amir Bahador Rostami, Filiz Eryilmaz, and Nicholas Abbruzzese) for invaluable help putting together the physical computing system for the bells.
- Requiem for Hybrid Life, Seoul Museum of Art Chang-go, Seoul, Korea. 2017-10-17 - 2017-10-23.
Artificial Nature: Inhabitat, 2017
Sand-sculpture augmented reality, head-mounted virtual reality, large-scale projection.
- Interactive Media Theater, MOXI (The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, Santa Barbara, USA. 2017-08-11 - 2018-01-08 (Commissioned).
Artificial Nature: Endless Current, 2014
Virtual reality (head mounted display or surround projection and sound), artificial ecosystem.
Endless Current is a visualization of a complex biologically-inspired system. Through immersive display it presents an infinitely explorable world sustaining a virtual ecosystem of multiple species. These artificial life forms subsist within a simulated 3D fluid environment that is constrained by an amorphous landscape reminiscent of underwater or microscopic spaces. Immersed participants view virtual doubles of their hands and arms within this world, with which they can intuitively navigate the space and discover interactions with the simulated life.
The AlloSphere, Santa Barbara, USA. 2017-08-24 onward.
Different Games Exhibition & Conference Toronto, OCAD University, Toronto, 2017-05-31 - 2017-06-03.
Kaledioscope Virtual Reality Showcase volume II -- selected among 21 projects for this international showcase exploring the art & science of virtual reality.
London: 2017-03-29 / Seoul: 2017-03-30 / Leipzig: 2017-04-02 / Berlin: 2017-04-07 / Los Angeles: 2017-04-20 / Kyiv: 2017-04-22 / Sydney: 2017-04-27 / Paris: 2017-04-28, 2017-04-29 / New York: TBD / Hong Kong: TBD
HTC VivePort virtual reality content distribution network. 2017-01-30 - present. Top featured project March 4-6.
SV+VS (Sonifying Visuals+Visualizing Sound). Gallery MUN, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, Korea. 2016-08-20 - 2016-09-18 (Curated).
Currents New Media Festival. El Museo Cultural, and also the Digital Dome at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, USA. 2016-06-10 - 2016-06-26 (Juried).
IEEE VIS Arts Program. LeRoy Neiman Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA. 2015-10-16 - 2015-10-30 (Juried).
Artience Project Daejeon. Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, Daejeon, Korea. 2014-08-23 - 2014-09-02 (Curated).
Life is very Beautiful. Yeulmaru Exhibition Hall, Yeosu, Korea. 2014-02-18 - 2014-04-06 (Curated).
Life is very Beautiful. Space-K Gallery, KI Building, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea. 2013-10-10 - 2013-12-6 (Curated).
Korea Electronics Show 2013. KINTEX Convention Center, Ilsan, Korea. 2013-10-07 - 2013-10-10 (Commissioned).
Artificial Nature: Portrait, 2017
Pair of Raspberry Pi, 10" screen, Korean traditional paper, 4" speakers.
An audiovisual animation and real-time generative simulation exploring boundary realms between the living and the non-living, familiar and alien, body and world. A human form is inhabited by a writhing algorithmic network in which each segment tries to maintain its relationship with another, bubbling and crackling as it evolves. It is a self portrait, both in terms of its metaphorical play of nature and artifice, as well as by synthesizing earlier independent work by each of the artists with a scanned point cloud of the artist’s body.
Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST) El Museo Cultural, Santa Barbara, USA. 2017-07-03.
Currents New Media Festival. El Museo Cultural, Santa Fe, USA. 2017-06-09 - 2017-06-25.
Artificial Nature: Archipelago, 2013
Sand, projection mapping, mixed reality, artificial ecosystem.
Archipelago was one of five works awarded Honourable Mention in the Finished Project category of the VIDA 16.0 Art & Artificial Life competition.
Seoul Sangsangryok Baljeonso (Power Station of Creativity). City Hall, Seoul, Korea. 2015-02-16 - 2015-02-27 (Invited re-exhibit).
Capitaine Futur. La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, France. 2014-10-08 - 2015-02-08 (Curated).
Seoul Sangsangryok Baljeonso (Power Station of Creativity). City Hall, Seoul, Korea. 2014-10-01 - 2014-10-21 (Juried competition 1st prize, CAD ~$32,000).
Systems and Subversions. IDEA Space, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, Colorado Springs, USA. 2013-10-28 - 2013-11-5 (Curated).
Chronophotography / Chronosculpture, 2013
Lenticular print, 3D print
Exhibited at: Media + Life: Sensorial Collaboration. College of Art, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Tokyo, Japan. 2013-02-04 - 2013-02-07 (Curated).
This work reprises Étienne-Jules Marey's technique of chronophotography with its original biological motivation, and yet is entirely artificial. The subject is an artificial life form composed of segmented sections comparable to the class Chilopoda (centipedes), but with trifold symmetric limbs that undulate to propel the organism through a fluid medium. The resulting forms are a product of the organism morphology, the propulsive patterns of its limbs, its predatory macro-behavior, and the viscosity and currents of the fluid it is immersed in.
Artificial Nature: Time of Doubles / Flux, 2011
Curved screen, mixed reality, artificial ecosystem.
Time of Doubles is an immersive interactive art installation. It invites visitors to experience mirror existences of themselves taking upon new roles as sources of energy and kinetic disturbance within a perpetually changing virtual ecosystem, a uniquely created computational world. Visitors encounter their doubles in an immersive world through 3D depth cameras, a surround array of active loudspeakers, and projected images. This world displays some characteristics familiar from our own, but is populated by unfamiliar life forms singing, swimming, and breeding through sensitive motions of dark fluids. The visitors’ doubles are energy fields, which emanate myriad bright fluid particles, food sources to be eaten by the virtual organisms. Visitors see, hear, and feel how they are fed to unknown species in this virtual ecosystem. Without visitors, the world-fluid is filled with life seeds that cannot grow, but with human presence the populations explode into alien orchestras of evolutionary growth. Larger organisms hunt smaller ones, leaving physical residues and films behind as they pass, which constrain the fluid flows, and which can be sculpted by visitors’ doubles as they approach them.
GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution. Center for Art and Media (ZKM) Mediamuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany.
2015-10-30 - 2016-02-28 (Curated).
SIGGRAPH ASIA Art Gallery. Hong Kong Exhibition and Conference Centre, Hong Kong SAR. 2013-11-19 - 2013-11-22 (Juried). Presented in stereoscopic 3D.
Microwave International New Media Festival: Enigma. City Hall, Hong Kong. 2012-11-03 - 2012-11-25 (Curated).
7th Digital Art Festival Taipei 2012: Artificial Nature. Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Digital Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan. 2012-11-06 - 2012-11-25 (Curated).
Daejeon Biennale 2012: Energy. Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, Korea. 2012-09-19 - 2012-11-18 (Curated).
Bits & Pieces. AlloSphere, California NanoSystems Institute, UCSB, USA. 2012-05-29 (Curated).
Collider 04: Spectacle. Emily Davis Art Gallery, Myers School of Art, The University of Akron. 2012-03-19 - 2012-04-13 (Curated).
Questionable Utility. TransLAB, California NanoSystems Institute, Santa Barbara, USA. 2011-06-09 (Juried). Presented in stereoscopic 3D.
Type:wall. Seoul Olympic Museum of Art (SOMA), Korea. 2011-03-31 - 2011-05-29 (Curated).
Invited installation as one of five artworks under the theme of the architectural wall, incorporating sound, ice, breathing, shadows, and interaction.
Artificial Nature: City Life, 2011
LED media facade 78 x 99 meters, animation.
- Urban Organism: Triangle Screenscape. Seoul Square media facade. Seoul, Korea. 2011-10-11 - 2011-10-30 (Juried).
City Life (도시 생명) is a site-specific generative video for the Seoul Square venue - a media facade of 99x78m located in the heart of Seoul's cityscape. To express a 'world-as-it-could-be' in which city and artificial life coexist, it presents an biological analogue of a metropolis in which the subjects are not citizens, but the city buildings themselves.
The significant challenges of this venue include the vast size of the display, the very low resolution of pixels, and the fact that the office windows are often lit. The animation thus includes a population of virtual buildings, allowing a trompe l’oeil effect whereby the actual windows appear to be part of these virtual buildings, emphasized by the high contrast. The buildings represent a human element at a vast scale, but also animate in the form of growing and undulating life forms. Other alien organisms invade the space and consume these buildings, somewhat akin to Kaiju. A toon-shading rendering style is used to minimize the challenges of working at a low pixel resolution.
Alien Field, 2011
Exhibited at: PROLOGUE/PROTOTYPE. Gallery Sobab, Gyeonggi-Do, Korea. April 29-May 15 2011. (Invited)
Genetic Morphologies, 2010
Generative/evolutionary 3D animation, print
Exhibited at: Cross-Reality: Traversed & Encompassed Vision. Arts & Information Center, College of Art, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Japan. Feb 20-22 2012.
Genetic Morphology Study is an initial exploration into evolutionary algorithms; a guiding aesthetic prototype for evolving populations of organisms as visual and spatial expression. The intention is to create a biological boundary form between the mathematical and the organic: modular combinations of geometric primitives developed through genetic evolution within a sculptural animation of collective behaviors. Each organismʼs morphology consists of a number of helix and hypercube modules arranged with symmetries varying according to their individual genetic code. The collective behavior of the organism is influenced by its nearest neighbor and the attractions of two ʻstarsʼ. The simulation comprised five generations of fifty agents each, produced by modeling in Maya and programming in MEL (Maya Embedded Language).
Generative audio-visual simulation.
Exhibited at the Space Exploration Exhibition: Chunjin Exhibition Center. Chunjin, China. July 25-28, 2009. (Commissioned)
Virtual reality artificial ecosystem.
Collider 03: Transform. Emily Davis Gallery, Akron Ohio, USA. March 22-April 16 2011. (Invited)
Hyperbody ProtoSpace TU Delft. Technical University Delft, Holland. May 6-7 2010. (Invited)
SIGGRAPH ASIA Art Gallery. Yokohama Pacifico Convention Center, Yokohama, Japan. December 17-19, 2009. (Juried)
Central Academy of Fine Arts Art Museum (CAFA). Beijing, China. July 2009. (Invited)
Space Exploration Exhibition: Chunjin Exhibition Center. Chunjin, China. July 25-28, 2009. (Commissioned)
Seoul Olympic Museum of Art (SOMA): A.L.I.C.E. MUSEUM. Seoul, Korea. May 01-June 21, 2009. (Invited)
MAT AlloSphere. California NanoSystems Institute, Santa Barbara, USA. Various dates, 2009-2010.
Interactive artificial ecosystem.
MAST: The Future of Interactive Media. Corwin Pavillion/MAT AlloSphere, University of California Santa Barbara. January 29-30 2009. (Juried)
MAT AlloSphere. Santa Barbara, USA. January-September 2009.
Seongnam Art Center: Universal Electronic Art. Seongnam, Korea. October-November 2008. (Invited)
Total Museum of Contemporary Art: thisAbility vs. Disability. Seoul, Korea. July 22-August 24, 2008. (Invited)
ASIAGRAPH 2008 Digital Gallery. Shanghai, China. Jun 27-July 1, 2008. (Invited)
In press: Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Biotopes Numériques / Computational Biotopes" In Stream 04: Le Paradigme du Vivant / The Paradigm of Living Systems. Philippe Chiambaretta Architecte, Paris, 2016.
In press: Graham Wakefield. "Open Worlds: Bergson And Computational Ontology." In Worldmaking as Techné: Exploring Worlds of Participatory Art, Architecture, and Music, edited by Alberto de Campo, Mark-David Hosale, Sana Murrani. Riverside Architectural Press, 2017.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Recent Realizations of Artificial Nature." In Living Architecture Systems Group White Papers. Riverside Architectural Press, 2016.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Endogenous Biologically Inspired Art of Complex Systems." Computer Graphics and Applications 36, no. 1 (January, 2016): 16-21. IEEE Computer Society.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Endogenous Biologically-Inspired Visualization Immersed Within an Art of Complex Systems." In Proceedings of the IEEE VIS Arts Program (Chicago, USA), 30-37. University of Illinois at Chicago, October, 2015.
Graham Wakefield, Tobias Höllerer, JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Charles Roberts, Matthew Wright. "Spatial Interaction in a Multiuser Immersive Instrument." Computer Graphics and Applications 33, no. 6 (November, 2013): 14-20. IEEE Computer Society.
Graham Wakefield, Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji. "Becoming-There: Natural Presence in an Art of Artificial Ecologies." In International Symposium on Ubiquitous Virtual Reality (Daejeon, Republic of Korea), 11-14. IEEE Computer Society, July, 2013. Keynote paper.
Graham Wakefield, Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji. "Virtual World-Making in an Interactive Art Installation: Time of Doubles." In Virtual Worlds, edited by Stephan Bornhofen, Jean-Claude Heudin, Alain Lioret, Jean-Claude Torrel. Science eBook, Paris, November, 2012. Representative chapter.
Graham Wakefield. "Real-Time Meta-Programming for Interactive Computational Arts." PhD dissertation, University of California Santa Barbara, September, 2012.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Time of Doubles." In Proceedings of SIGGRAPH ASIA Art Gallery (Hong Kong), 26-26. ACM, December, 2011.
Lance Putnam, Graham Wakefield, Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Basak Alper, Dennis Adderton, JoAnn Kuchera-Morin. "Immersed in Unfolding Complex Systems." In Beautiful Visualization: Looking at Data through the Eyes of Experts, edited by Julie Steele, Noah Iliinsky, 291-310. O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2010.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Artificial Nature." In Proceedings of the NSF Media Arts, Science and Technology Conference (Santa Barbara, USA). National Science Foundation, 2009.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Artificial Nature: Fluid Space." In Proceedings of SIGGRAPH ASIA Art Gallery & Emerging Technologies: Adaptation (Yokohama, Japan), 26-26. ACM, December, 2009.
Graham Wakefield, Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji. "Artificial nature: Immersive world making." In Theoretical Computer Science and General Issues 5484 Applications of Evolutionary Computing (The Evolutionary Music and Art Workshop, Tübingen), edited by Mario Giacobini et al., 597-602. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2009.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Artificial Nature: Research and Development." In The 2nd International Conference on Media Art and Information Aesthetics (Beijing, China). CAFA Art Museum, July, 2009.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Artificial Nature as an Infinite Game." In Proceedings of the International Symposium of Electronic Arts (Singapore), 256-258. The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts, August, 2008.
Haru (Hyunkyung) Ji, Graham Wakefield. "Artificial Nature as an Infinite Game." In Proceedings of ASIAGRAPH (Shanghai, China). ASIAGRAPH, July, 2008.
Haru Ji is a TransArtist and researcher exploring the subject of life in art through Artificial Life Worldmaking: a form of computational generative art creating and evolving virtual ecosystems as immersive environments. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology at the University of California Santa Barbara and is an assistant professor of Art & Technology in the School of Consilience at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. She attained a Master and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Seoul National University, and studied image engineering, computer graphics and 3D animation at Chung-Ang University, both in Seoul, Korea. She has exhibited computational installations, digital sculptures, virtual architecture, video installations, sculptural objects and 3D animations at exhibitions and art festivals worldwide including ISEA, EvoWorkshops, and SIGGRAPH, with corresponding publications. She is a co-creator of the research project and immersive ecosystem "Artificial Nature", exploring the expansion of media art towards ‘art-as-it-could-be’. It is an amalgam of play, research, and art, which raises novel and significant questions regarding the trans-disciplinary interpretation of both subjective beauty and objective truth in art and biology.
Graham Wakefield's research has evolved from computer music composition to the generation of open-ended environments for exploratory experience, emphasizing continuation over closure. This work is expressed through software design for creative coding, and immersive artworks of artificial ecosystems (both leveraging live system evolution through dynamic compilation). He is Assistant Professor in the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University, Toronto, where he runs the Alice Lab for Computational Worldmaking. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Warwick UK, a Master in Composition from Goldsmiths College University of London, UK and a Ph.D in Media Arts and Technology from the University of California Santa Barbara, USA. Graham played a central role in the development of software systems and authoring content for the AlloSphere: a three storey spherical multi-user immersive instrument in the California Nano-Systems Institute. Graham is also a software developer for Cycling '74, co-authoring the Gen extension for the widely-used media arts environment Max/MSP/Jitter. His works and publications have been performed, exhibited and presented at international events including SIGGRAPH, ICMC, NIME, EvoWorkshops and ISEA.