As part of Doug Aitken’s Station to Station project, we were approached to contribute with a digital artwork. The piece we developed, using webGL and three.js, invited people to answer the question of who they are by sharing their thoughts and experiences via Twitter and Instagram.
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“Who are you?” is a question with a dual quality. Depending on the context, 'you' refers either to the sole participant or the vast sea of contributors as a whole. As they all take part in this global happening, over time, their digital traces form a collective super-sculpture.
“Who we are” is defined by our actions and responses. Similar to how atoms create matter, the elementary units of the sculpture are the thoughts, feelings and impressions of individuals. As posts and tweets are converted into building blocks, their content shapes the collective portrait one unit at a time. Although small, the personal contributions are vital to the outcome of the cumulative structure. The result is a digitally constructed conglomerate of human emotion and reaction.
At the beginning of the campaign, only a simple structure is shown at the center of the screen. The more people reply to the questions and the more data is collected, the more complex and complete the sculpture becomes. Varying messages have different shapes, colours and materiality. Individuals contribute and collectively build the monument of data. The form of the object is flexible and dependent on input from contributors. Users can zoom and rotate around the sculpture, navigate through it and explore the contributions of others by observing reflections of data inside the cubes. Clicking on the data-cube opens a pop-up to reveal the information hidden within the structure.
During the development process, a large variety of visual styles and interaction models were explored. The following video provides an overview of how the project evolved over time.
For Sedition, onformative presented 'Normae', a new series uncovering unseen architectural views of the collective data sculpture. The images capture a specific moment in time and invite the collector to reflect upon the concept of identity in digital and real worlds.