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oribotics & secondlife


Matthew Gardiner’s Oribotics [network] Matthew Gardiner’s Oribotics [network]
oribotics [network]

There’s something biomimetic on the glass panes of Federation Square’s Atrium—it’s oribots. They communicate with each other, they glow and change colour, they feed on sunlight. These entirely new, living creatures, part of oribotics [network], have grown out of the earlier Matthew Gardiner work, oribotics, a mating of origami and robotics. Each new oribot here is in harmony with its environment, the design shape echoing the folds and facets of the atrium. Communication is powered by built-in low voltage computers and relayed via a wi-fi network. The data stream changes the tricolour LED output. The oribots blossom as they attract data from your movement and stimuli from online fanciers. See and believe. And it’s free.

Matthew Gardiner’s Oribotics [network], Fracture Gallery, Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne, Oct 8-Nov 9

coming to a second life near you

Art is quickly establishing niches for itself in the burgeoning Second Life ecosystem-cum-market, sometimes as creative extensions of first world works (Physical TV’s Thursdays Fictions) but increasingly on its own virtual terms. The Australia Council’s Inter-Arts Office has promptly tempted Australian artists to go native in Second Life with the offer of a $20,000 residency ($4m in lindens) which was successfully applied for by the team of Christopher Dodds, Adam Nash and Justin Clemens. Inter-Arts doubtless would like artists to find income as well as renown in Second Life and perhaps help lift the Second Life game beyond bad graphic art and wobbly puppetry.

What the team promises is an “installation, a metaphor for the Tower of Babel, us[ing] voice recognition software that converts the spoken word of real and virtual world participants into 3-D letterform images in an evolving tower of words. The letterforms generate relationships with each other through a combination of visual and sonic manifestations, fragments of narrative, environmental/user awareness capabilities and through interaction with existing data generated within Second Life itself, such as the virtual winds, sunrises and sunsets.”

As often with Second Life ventures there’s a curious desire to manifest the work in both first and second worlds, a kind of insurance perhaps, but here the aim is to engage a different kind of audience who presumably might never think of getting a second life: “The artwork will be a simultaneous installation in Second Life and in a real world gallery, where gallery visitors can be directly involved in its creation via a computer interface.” Apparently most of the dollars will go on the gallery showing (

RealTime issue #81 Oct-Nov 2007 pg. 18

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