Welcome to the DataScapes Project!
This project is inspired by a simple idea. Nature and Culture are replete with patterns. Those patterns can be detected and appropriated to create new works of art.
This is not a new idea. The Canadian media theorist Harold Innis referred to this process of detection and re-packaging as the Oral Tradition. The Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin saw the same process at work in the history of the modern novel. According to Bakhtin, the French novelist François Rabelais used to routinely canvass Paris markets looking for fresh modes of expression coming from vendors seeking to sell their wares. For Rabelais, the street market was an evolutionary pool of new forms of expression, forms that he incorporated into his master work, Gargantua and Pantagruel.
In our project, we seek to follow in Rabelais’ footsteps, with a few twists. Instead of producing a novel, we present two works of landscape art, art that will be featured in the Isaac Brock traffic circle. Instead, of drawing on oral forms produced from French street vendors, we draw on patterns derived from protein and text data, patterns that have been translated into musical and visual forms. And instead of producing works that are expressed in the medium of print, we present two pieces – “Emergence” and “The Five Senses” – that are expressed in the medium of Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is much like Virtual Reality. Like VR, it relies on computer-generated 3D objects. It differs from Virtual Reality in that it mixes those same 3D objects with a user’s view of real space.
To see our two works, you will need to download the app from our download page, and install it onto your iPad or Android tablet computer. Once you have done so, proceed to the Isaac Brock traffic circle, activate the app, and point it at the QR codes situated in the middle of the traffic circle, and enjoy!