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.