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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathImmersion
Panspermia (Sims, Karl), 1990Galápagos (Sims, Karl), 1997Sonomorphis (Lintermann, Bernd), 1998

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at MIT's MediaLab, was an important influence on Sommerer and Mignonneau. As early as 1990, Sims' computer animation «Panspermia» was a sensation and received many awards. «Panspermia,» which treats concepts such as chaos, evolution, complexity and the origins of life, is a scientific and artistic visualization that is both remarkable and elegant. Sims' non-immersive installation «Galápagos» (1997), now part of the permanent collection of the ICC in Tokyo, is an even more impressive visualization of Darwinian principles of evolution. Successive generations of this artificial biosphere's fauna exhibit increasing complexity. Unattractive ‹life› forms do not get selected by the users: irreversible extinction. The creative aspect and the option of testing the possibilities of the virtual space for evolution is given to the users in that they have the privilege of crossing two organisms. The result is an intimation of the infinite varieties of virtual creatures that evolution holds for life, the hyperspace of the possible, which can never be grasped intellectually in its entirety but can perhaps be best described with the aesthetic


category of the sublime, in the sense used by Edmund Burke.[43] It is the visualization of this abstraction that sets «Galápagos» apart from the majority of recent interactive installations.

This concept of combinatorial games was varied and expanded in «SonoMorphis» (1998), an installation created by Bernd Lintermann and Torsten Belschner. In the image space of «SonoMorphis,» users also ‹create› generations of ever-new biomorphic bodies based on genetic algorithms. Lintermann sets the artificial creatures in permanent rotation and enhances the spatial effect with stereo sound, which is also generated by random processes. Lintermann's intention is to keep the interactive structure of the installation flexible, which should be understood as an instrument, in this case an instrument consisting of visual and acoustic components. The number of possible forms is 1080; an analogy, according to Lintermann, with the total number of atoms in the universe. Be that as it may, the number of possible variants is incredibly high and impossible to explore in full.

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