A networked, real-time 3D installation exploring the relationship between astronomy and broadcast media.
In 1941 humanity’s media transmissions became powerful enough to pass through Earth's ionosphere and travel into deep space. From that point in time our signals have radiated into the universe, creating an ever-expanding globe referred to as Earth's Radiosphere. In the 72 years since that defining moment, our communications have reached nearly two thousand other known star systems.
Data_Sea is a real-time virtual environment based upon this relationship between broadcast media and astronomy. The core geometry of the artwork is directly derived from the actual positions and characteristics of all catalogued star systems residing within the Radiosphere. Obtained from current astronomical databases such as the Hipparcos star catalogue, these scientific measurements have been translated into a three-dimensional structure constructed in Unity3D.
Each star system's basic properties affect its aesthetic manifestation within the virtual realm. Star type is represented by shape, while the stellar nodes are connected to a central spherical body (representing our solar system) by line structures that show the spectral class and magnitude of the individual stars. Systems that are known to contain exoplanets are surrounded by concentric ring structures. Live audiovisual media is streamed into the environment adding textures and a persistent soundscape. These mediated reflections are in constant flux, forever shifting as they drift into an endless sea of virtual space.
Drew Baker [ Unity3D programming ] . Johanna Jarvis [ scientific research ]
Irini Papadimitriou [ curation ] . Mario Di Maggio [ fulldome technology ]
Data_Sea v2.0 was produced in 2013 for the Digital Design Weekend, Victoria & Albert Museum, London with generous support from Discovery Dome Europe and the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. Version 1.0 was produced in 2009 by Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum with funds from Arts Council England for the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
[ gallery ] Modular installation using: high-specification computer systems capable of real-time high definition 3D rendering (Unity3D); fulldome (360°) projection environment or multi/single-channel high definition video screen/projector; 2.1/5.1 audio system; and HCI device for user interaction.
[ online ] Mac or Windows computer system with Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari; the Unity3D webplayer plugin; and stereo audio. A high-specification CPU/GPU, colour display with ≥1080p resolution and high-speed Internet connection are recommended.