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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Network: Installation Summary

I feel it is important now to convey exactly what we will be doing with our installation, as I feel it may not be particularly clear from my previous posts.

  • Users will step into a designated area which is registered with a Kinect motion sensor.
  • This will be set up in front of a large scale projection which will display our living breathing ecosystem.
  • By interacting with individual animals on the screen, users will alter the amount of a particular species that are present in the ecosystem.
  • This will have a flow on affect which will be measured by following the principles of the 'Biomass Pyramid' and Biological Network' diagrams posted earlier (i.e. more turtles =less of what a turtle feeds on + more of what feeds on turtles)
  • The changes will be displayed on screen by numbers of species blowing up or diminishing, which the user will then (if desired) look at rectifying by further altering numbers.
The model essentially mimics the effects of human interaction on the environment by simplifying the effects to direct changes in population of animal Biomass.

Network: Installation Research II

Our second research component would involve How we would convey our concept through an art installation medium.

We looked at existing installations.  Some of which displayed ecosystems and marine life, some of which were more artistic and ambiguous.

I personally took a lot away from an installation set up by 'Selfridges' in London.  It was titled 'Project Ocean' and demonstrated aquatic life from a side on perspective.  People were motivated to interact with the installation by purchasing fish which would then be displayed.  Proceeds were donated to charity.  It struck a chord with me however as after watching this video I could get a feel for what our installation may look like on screen.  This will be important as my personal contribution to the project will be visual aspects, and developing an aesthetic for the installation.

Clusta : Selfridge's Project Ocean Digital from Clusta on Vimeo.

The group also viewed a local exhibition at the Aotea centre named 'Growth' by Jeffrey Nusz.  It is "an interactive ecosystem where people orchestrate the emergence of digital plants and trees."  essentially movement is registered via a Kinect sensor and manipulates the growth of plant-life on-screen.  After this installation I personally developed the desire to steer away from the potentially childish and bare-bones aesthetics attached to the 'Project Ocean' installation, towards something more abstract and artistic.  I feel like it is important to maintain the message and concept behind our installation, but there must be a more visually stimulating way to display our marine ecosystem.  I feel this is a directional desire that is mutual amongst the entire group.

More information on the 'Growth' installation:

Network: Diagrams Mapping our Ecosystem

Diagrams of our Biomass Pyramid.

'A visualization of the dynamics of our Biological Network'

Network: Installation Research I

We began our research component which would comprise the majority of our mid semester hand-in.  It essentially split into two components.

First we had to research ecosystems and real-world examples of species being removed from ecosystems already.  We came across several interesting concepts which had an impact on our installation idea.

'Biomass' is a measurement of how many of a particular species are regularly observed in its natural environment.  It is most easily mapped with Eco-pyramid diagrams -which display producer or provider species (plants) at the bottom with a larger biomass, and 'apex predators' at the top with a smaller biomass.  If it were any other way, an ecosystem would be forced to collapse as not enough sources of food would be available to sustain the food chain or web.

Biomass pyramid example

'Keystone Species' are particular animals who despite their comparatively small biomass, have an exceptionally large impact on their immediate environments.  This would be a good start to building the particular ecosystem we would choose to display, as having a keystone species as the centre of our network would allow radical change to be made to all nodes affected.  Essentially keystone species contribute a particular action (usually dietary) which sustains control over its immediate ecosystem.  Increasing or decreasing the number of this species has a flow on effect.

See this link for a detailed article on keystone species:

Network Brief and Concept-ing

With our websites live we were given our first large scale studio brief of 2012.  This project is to take the entirety of Semester One.

We were tasked with coming up with a project that involved networks in some way, shape or form.

"The brief is to develop a group project (in groups of 3-5 people) that explores the concepts, theories and technologies of networks. Rather than take up obvious or litteral responses to the topic explore the ideas and generate projects that extend our understanding of the issues. This is not necessarily an internet project! You are free to utilise any technologies or media that support your ideas."

Website UP

First project back this semester was to create a portfolio website to house our project work over the coming semesters.

It's functional and live, but theres not a lot of content uploaded yet.  Also domain is a bit whack, but will be changing over to a more suitable hosting service/domain name shortly.

Check back over the coming few weeks as I get it up to scratch.