Design, technology and digital expression. A selection of my works.
Norway's National Parks
The installation will serve as the main digital showcase of the 44 Norwegian National Parks, 7 of which are in Svalbard.
The installation in displayed on a large touch screen located in 15 Visitor Centers throughout the country. The touchscreen opens up on a large map of Norway that stretches until the farthest recesses of Svalbard. The map highlights every national park that can be selected for a more in-depth presentation.
A three dimensional rendering of a single national park provides people with an overview of the landscape and its topography. Special labeled pins highlight points-of-interest that visitors can touch to access further multimedia content. A photo-gallery and a video provides a panoramic overview of the area's vegetation, animal world, visitor centers and remarkable locations.
The core technology is adaptable to a number of diverse interaction modalities and types of settings such as exhibition spaces, shopping malls, towns and cities, metro stations or even fictional lands.
This work shows a special attention to interaction aesthetics. The information appears malleable and invites to a touch interaction which is intuitive, plastic and responsive. The design strives to engender a sense of tactile manipulation of the 3D landscape within the requirements of a screen-based interface.
The work was made together with the rest of the team at Gagarin Studio and in close collaboration with the client, the Norwegian Environment Agency overseeing the project on behalf of the National Parks of Norway.
The installation honors the memory of the French fishermen who lost their lives in the perilous waters of the Icelandic sea.
For more than three hundred years the French fishermen sailed to Iceland in search for cod. It has been estimated that just between the 1825 and the start of the First World War, about four thousands French sailors perished off the coast of Iceland. A hundred years of cod fishing, for six months a year, with a rate of six sailors dyeing every month.
This period had an impact on the history of Europe, a venture portrayed like a great battle in which hard work is shaded by hardship and duty is marked by sacrifice. This endeavor contributed to build up the economy of northern France, provided food to millions of plates in southern Europe and established modern health care and the fishing industry in Iceland, both essential for the development of the country.
The digital memorial is conceptual rather than physical. It manifests itself into a fluid form which is somber, silently infinite and solemn like a gravestone. The mass of abstract water is charged with reverberating premonitions of a storm yet to come; a moment of sensuous immobility that anticipates an inescapable event and the lucid realization of a vulnerable nature. The representation strives to implicitly celebrate courage as the acceptance of an inevitable sacrifice, of the kind that transcends duty into heroism.
The projection moves at a slow tempo to induce a contemplative stance. A moment of reflection where, at first, the emotional eye is catalyzed by the wave shifting and then progressively redirected to the memorial names, gently drifting in the lower part of the visualization.
Technically, the digital memorial is based on real-time rendering of the ocean with white caps. The system alters the atmospheric illumination model of the water simulation and transforms it into an abstract fluid form with shimmering letters. The names appear as the waves break and perturbate the surface. The original algorithm is a work of Eric Bruneton at INRIA Rhône-Alpes.
The installation was commissioned by Minjasafn Reykjavíkur for a new exhibition celebrating the French sailors at the “French Hospital“ in Fáskrúðsfjörður, Iceland. The digital memorial is projected on a seven meters long wall. The project has been realized in conjunction with Gagarin Ltd and the designer Árni Páll Jóhannsson.
Collective II - Interactive
This work develops upon Social Self-Organization but with a focus on animated interactive characters. Traditional linear animation developed the art of crafting characters that can elicit an emotional connection. This work uses the best practices from animation together with social theories and artificial intelligence to bring lifelike characters into the realm of interactivity.
Although my previous procedural model for social self-organization is a cornerstone of this work, much effort went into perfecting the simulation in such a way that can appear believable to a spectator and find application in the digital media and interactive industries. The central idea is to automate certain character's reflexes in such a way to influence the visual perception of the viewer, so that she can experience a sense of social context. On the technical side, I crafted an architectural design that combines behavior trees, state machines and command fusion to allow complex logic to trigger actions at the right time without looking robotic.
As part of this work I built the first version of a software technology to simulate social self-organization and interact with groups in a virtual world. The software is currently used by the Socially Expressive Computing Group at Reykjavik University. An initial version was developed during a project at the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines. You can read more about the simulation engine at this page.
This work was made in collaboration with CCP Games. It is an application of social self-organization to a game production. I designed and developed a demo to investigate the possibilities offered by social simulation in games.
The goal was to understand how well a small crowd of characters that can express rudimentary body language can bring a whole ambient to life and sustain a minimal background storytelling.
This work developed within the CCP Incarna project. Technically it required a complex system integration with the CCP Carbon Technology and its top-notch character animations.
In this work I explore the mechanics of a complex natural phenomenon; the self-organization of social groups. A common scenario is a conversation between two or more people. This is a research work started in 2007 and is still ongoing.
It consists of creating procedural models to simulate various types of human behavior and the emergence of social organization. These models are computer programs that automate the actions of autonomous characters in a virtual world. I began by investigating the phenomenon of bird flocking and realized that human social behavior might have a similar mechanics. Then I have applied theories from the social sciences to model the emergent organization of social encounters, especially small groups in conversations and gatherings.
These models can aide scientific understanding of a natural system and human social behavior. They also allow us to recreate the phenomenon and control it for use in animation, games and the arts.
This work began as part of a research project at the Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents at Reykjavik University, Iceland, under the supervision of Dr. Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson. The project was supported by a Grant of Excellence from the Icelandic Centre for Research.