8 July 2020 @ 12:00 pm

Artificial Natures

Humans have always looked to nature for inspiration. As artists, we have done so in creating a family of “artificial natures”: interactive art installations surrounding humans with biologically-inspired complex systems experienced in immersive mixed reality. The invitation is to become part of an alien ecosystem rich in networks of complex feedback, 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. Artificial Nature springs from an inherent curiosity and aesthetic survival instinct to narrate alternate worlds in superposition to us, as a reminder that although the imaginable is greater than the known, the real is greater and weirder still.

This SensiLab Forum was held on Wednesday 8 July 2020. A video of the presentation is available below.

Artificial Nature is an installation series and research project by Haru Ji (South Korea/Canada) and Graham Wakefield (UK/Canada), creating a family of interactive art installations surrounding humans with biologically-inspired complex systems experienced in immersive mixed reality. Since 2007, Artificial Nature installations have counted around fifty exhibits venues including La Gaite Lyrique (Paris), ZKM (Karlsruhe), CAFA (Beijing), MOXI and the AlloSphere (Santa Barbara), and City Hall (Seoul), festivals such as Microwave (Hong Kong), Currents (Santa Fe), and Digital Art Festival (Taipei), conferences such as SIGGRAPH (Yokohama, Vancouver), ISEA (Singapore), and EvoWorkshops (Tubingen), as well as recognition such as the international 2015 VIDA Art & Artificial Life competition and the 2017 Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality showcase.

Haru Ji is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Futures and Digital Painting & Expanded Animation programs at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, and was previously Assistant Professor of Art & Technology in the School of Consilience at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology from the University of California Santa Barbara, an MFA and BFA from Seoul National University, and studied image engineering, computer graphics and 3D animation at Chung-Ang University, both in Seoul, Korea.

Graham Wakefield is Associate Professor in the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design and Canada Research Chair of Computational Worldmaking at York University, Toronto, where he runs the Alice Lab. 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 has written a number of widely-used media arts software, including co-authoroing the Gen extension for Cycling ’74’s Max/MSP/Jitter.