remember ocean

Karo Castro-Wunsch

live demo: realgoodinternet.me/remember-ocean

GitHub: https://github.com/KaroAntonio/remember-ocean

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Process Journal

Sometimes I forget about the ocean, sometimes I’m thinking about things that seem more important at the time but in retrospect really weren’t really important when compared to endless water. The ocean does her own thing and takes care of herself, as far as I can tell, so she doesn’t really get up in your face too often unless you’re of the Moby dick/Tom hanks variety. So this piece is a somewhat agitated, demanding, incarnation of the ocean, trapped in the internet as per usual. The central thought is ~ don’t forget the the ocean ~ Ie remember the ocean. I put the demanding ocean next to population growth. The ocean at the whim of pop growth, becoming more agitated due to pop growth, becoming increasingly more spastic. With life coming from the sea and all, it’s probably pretty tough being the mother of all that and keeping your kelp beds in good order too. There’s the calm ocean, more sphereish and gentle, and the cartoonishly wild ocean that don’t even fit on the screen it’s having such a fit. Your job is to mind the ocean, let her know that yes, you are thinking of her, you do remember her. And that’s the role of the peripheral: a salt water detector in a shell that is activated only when you tap it with a finger dipped in salt water. The sensor is tuned to only react to salt water, regular water carrying too faint a signal. By touching salt water to the shell (a small alter of sorts) you let the ocean know that you’re thinking of her in a way that assures her also that you remember at least a small fragment of the sensation of the ocean. A drop of salt water on a finger is practically an ocean if you look close enough…? Touching the shell calms the ocean and she resumes peaceful orbliness, but she’s only calm so long as you actively attend to her, otherwise she slips steadily back into agitation. And so it goes.

I’m really glad of the meditation on ocean vs population this project allowed me, but what I’m less enthusiastic of is cats vs conductive thread.

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^ It’s a knot, there were many of them. Future iterations of this project will use a wireless connection. The initial thought for the thread was to wrap the shell with it and leave gaps which could be crossed with the thread. This proved difficult as the thread holds on to too much moisture, so I re-designed using a two prong moisture detector. Also, yes, I am aware creation sells a moisture detector for $5, I thought I could make something that looked better, which was a successful negative result!

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It worked very well though and was able to handle large drops of water and not become waterlogged.

On the visual technical end, learning more WebGL and shader systems is always fun. The Ocean is a deformed icosahedron that uses 3D and 4D periodic perlin noise in conjunction with vertex shader reflection to produce its wobliness.

The population api doesn’t give a second to second population update, so to get that working I took the daily pop status report and interpolated it with the avg growth of humans / second.

To deal with serial data with the water sensor there was quite a bit of tweaking in the form of scaling and averaging but the numbers still seemed to drift as I kept using the sensor, I assume it started to degrade a little. Poor Guy.

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The circuit for the sensor just involves grounding the sensor wire so that it’s more constant when off, and passing the ground through a resistor so that more of the current is channeled towards the analog in. Is that how electronics works? Experimentally thought, this circuit functions.

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The physical interface is a lil bowl of water and a shell. I have a good deal of remorse about not making the sensor more invisible. Ideally you just touch a bowl of water and that’s your interface. I’ve seen water bowls used as synths before but that’s a mk004 thing now.

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The simple contrast of the visuals and concept make me happy.

References / Resources

Reflective Deform Shader: http://www.clicktorelease.com/blog/experiments-with-perlin-noise

World population api:  http://api.population.io

Considerations on the Ocean: https://la.utexas.edu/users/jmciver/Honors/Fiction%202013/Hemmingway_The%20Old%20Man%20and%20the%20Sea_1952.pdf

Water Sensor Inspiration:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Water-Sensor/

 

 

…im melting

Karo Castro-Wunsch + i

 

DESCRIPTION

a dialogue with a sentient glacier. it’s a needy glacier granted, but a valid one. a glacier that just wants to be cool. dont we all have a right to be cool? a basic glacier with froyo dreams. dreams that are melting away.

The use of multiscreen here is used to bring visibility to the choices people make in their interactions with social issues. Donations are traditionally often made anonymously whereas this project brings people interacting with the ‘climate change propaganda’ into the same space next to each other. Making the interaction public puts pressure on people involved to make a move and put down $$$. This is not necessarily a good or effective method of propaganda as there are definite benefits to anonymous donations starting with personal differences in what is considered an important cause. The multiscreening also serves the effect of giving each user their own interface to interact with the piece, but each interface is part of a larger cohesive issue. This emphasizes the we’re-all-in-it-togetherness of global climate issues.

 

CODE

http://realgoodinternet.me/help-im-melting/

* in order to engage with the piece solo, enter the values 1,1,0 into the text inputs, then click the ++++ button.

WASD: move

QE: tilt

RF: vertical strafe

click to cycle the narrative

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PROCESS

The goal of this project is founded in the intention of making rallying propaganda for climate change. Of the many elements of our natural backdrop being lost in this process of change, glaciers are a large and symbolic one. They’re more generic than the loss of individual species and more focused, visually. In order to draw an empathic response to the glacial loss, the idea is to anthropomorphize the glacier in maybe an anime-esque way and drape a human narrative over a crystal losing it’s integrity. There are so many metaphors to play with here wrt to the losing of shape, the losing of hardness, of clarity, of majesty, of terrain (ice terrain). I attempted to communicate the loss of coolness (losing your cool) and projecting that onto the inanimate symbolic glacier.

The interactivity of the piece was the most difficult to determine. It was originally planned to be more complex, with objects in the 3d environment that could be offered to the glacier, attempting to placate it, none of which would get to the root of the problem. The root of the problem being the user’s own IRL actions. The virtual glacier, as a symbolic form, is unsatisfiable and unfixable, it’s purpose being to do ‘what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.’. purchase here meaning action in the form of buying trees. Note: the buying of trees is to offset your carbon footprint to get the glacier her (it’s?) coolness back. It was decided though, that interaction in the 3d space would ad little to the message of the piece. In fact, the final product in it’s current state also has too much going on, a more simple and dialled back scene composition would be more effective. The choice to add the distractions button was to call attention to the user’s own inevitable distraction. The distraction that pulls us away from things that are difficult to engage with. the idea is that by calling this out, by making a visible button for distraction, the user can pseudo-pacify themselves for a moment which would be short-lived and then bring them back to the confronting the issue at hand.

Technically, much of what was set out to be accomplished was accomplished: the embodiment of a glacier in the form of a human textured with reflective surfaces, the incorporation of water texturing to show the melting of the glacier, the multiscreen code to split up the scene into smaller pieces, the incorporation of distraction gifs.

This piece was too dry to succeed in its goal of drawing an emotional response from it’s users and moving them to action. The aesthetic of the 20-screen interactive collage was also, I think, too fractured and fragmented for people to really engage well with it. I’m inspired to attempt to create a piece that is more in-line with the piece made by one of the other groups that involved taking pictures of each other in poses and using that sort of physical action as a segue for social action. A sort of catharsis of body. The beginning of any propaganda piece should be easily engaging, and emotionally charged in order to move people.

CONTEXT

Propaganda has been around for a while. Governments, religions, corporations all love it and use it to further there ideologies. Propaganda is always about some sort of war, and the better looking and more engaging it is, the more it helps it’s cause. Climate change is a war vs ourselves and our own over-consumptive tendencies, it stands to reason that we need some good propaganda for it.

https://people.howstuffworks.com/propaganda4.htm

Stylistically the piece heralds to the net art/vaporwave aesthetic with it’s 3d models and scene with overlaying text and .gifs.

SOURCES/LIBS

three.js was used with flycontrol, sound js

water shader : https://github.com/jbouny/ocean