When I learned programming as a teenager, among the first things I wrote were crude simulations of planets moving in the gravity field of a virtual sun. I did not fully understand the physics behind them, nor did I know that I had implemented a simple Euler-integrator to solve a system of differential equations over time. The main thing that interested me was the fancy spiral patterns that appeared as graphical output. I spent hours varying the parameters of the system, adding more sources of gravity and observing how small variations of the underlying rules changed the trajectories of the planets, resulting in different graphical patterns.
When I met Brian Knep during a research visit at Harvard Medical School, he showed me how an infrared camera can be used to track a visitors movements, providing an interface between their bodies and a projected image. What fascinated me most about his work was that it very effectively blended a simulated world with reality. People who stepped into the image changed the behavior of a reaction diffusion system simulation, mimicking the influence of external stimuli on biological pattern formation. I instantly wanted to do something with that technology, but it took a few more years until i did…
Emergent phenomena fascinate me.
Structures that emerge from interaction of independent agents surround us at any time and at any order of magnitude. Sand grains interact to form dunes and beaches, cells interact to form living creatures and a broad range of social phenomena emerges from the interaction of individuals.
Similar but not identical.
Even if their creation follows the same rules, two structures created in such a process are hardly ever completely identical: No two trees ever have exactly the exactly the same branches even if the underlying mechanisms of branch formation are the same. This distinguishes nature from man-made structures, which are typically built in a “top-down” manner according to a plan that exactly describes the end-product.
It’s these endless variations of the same themes of nature that I miss when I spend a large fraction of my time in environments dominated by industrial mass production.
Feeling that my installations should speak for themselves, I hesitated for a long time to set up something that could be understood as an advertisement portal.
But then again – people ask me all the time for a website and more information, so here be it.
In a first series of posts, I will try to give an oberview of the interactive video-projections I showed publicly until now and explain where my inspirations come from and how things evolved the way they did.