Scalable City opens at The Exploratorium


Our world is edging more and more towards digital environments. What are the societal and cultural implications? Does it change the way we think? The way we feel? Virtual Unreality, a new interactive exhibition in the Exploratorium’s Seeing Gallery, brings together three digital artworks by internationally-known artists that use game technology to explore the unreality of virtual landscapes. The works are Life Spacies II by Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Scalable Cities by Sheldon Brown, and Oceans (2000-2007) by Dan Torop. Virtual Unreality is open to the public from September 14, 2007-January 7, 2008.

Scalable Cities explores and creates an urban/suburban/rural environment at a rapid pace. As you move along, you literally “paint” the flying landscape with highways, buildings, and automobiles. Each step in this data visualization pipeline builds upon the previous, amplifying, exaggerating, and adding on the landscape algorithmically and exponentially. This interactive virtual artwork provides equal measures of delight and foreboding, creating a vision of cultured forms that you — the participant — are (too) rapidly creating. While the project neither indicates nor embraces the future you build, it offers an extrapolation of its own tendencies, heightening awareness of the aesthetics and underlying logic of the game and how it determines much of our cultured existence.

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