Ars Electronica Future Lab Residency


During November and December 2011 I was privileged to work at the Ars Electronica Future Lab as part of an Australia Council & Novamedia Artist-in-Residence program. The Future Lab is an inspiring place to work, with an impressive array of designers, artists, engineers and programmers building the next generation of creative technologies. Special thanks to Matthew Gardiner for co-ordinating my visit and making me feel at home.

Outside the Ars Electronica Centre in Linz, December 2011

During my time at the Future Lab, I developed and prototyped a number of new works. These include a programmed LED work, Lifefield, for the Ars Electronica Centre’s facade. The facade wraps the Ars Electronica building with programmable coloured “pixels” which can be programmed in real time like a giant, low-resolution video screen. Lifefield used algorithms modelled on insect behaviour to create generative  patterning that is always evolving and changing. Similar to my earlier work, Flicker, the local interaction of individual pixels (insects) gives rise to emergent global patterning across the entire building.

Prototype of “Lifefield” on the Ars Electronica facade, December 2011.

The main project I developed was a 3D virtual reality work for the Ars Electronica museum’s Deep Space, a spectacular multi-screen, high definition virtual reality system. This new work, Codeform, uses generative and artificial life techniques to grow an ecosystem of imaginary lifeforms derived from a code sequence generated by scanning the barcode on each visitor’s entry ticket.

I returned to Linz for the premiere of these works at the Ars Electronica Festival 2012, along with another new digital image work, Fifty Sisters, developed for the museum’s entry foyer. Fifty Sisters consists of fifty 1m x 1m images of evolved, computer generated plant-forms based on the elements of oil company logos.

Some more information on the Future Lab blog.

The Australian Artist-in-Residence program at the FutureLab has been initiated and produced by Novamedia in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts and Ars Electronica.