Week 8: Space and Final Abstract by Matthew Robertson

Mankind has evolved for the phenomena of the earth to seem natural. We understand that the ground is down, the sky is up, and even though we are standing on a giant sphere, the ground seems rectangular. The rotation of the earth goes unnoticed. The pressure of the air above us is hardly, if ever, noticed. 
Space has been considered the next “frontier” for mankind to explore and colonize. The last frontier that was explored (by Europe) was America. As technology allowed for easier Atlantic travel, Europeans immigrated to America. However, even though there are apparent similarities between the exploration of the New World and space exploration, I find this comparison to be invalid. The problem is that even though colonists were in an unfamiliar place that new technology allowed access to, they were still on Earth and still in an environment that they had evolved to be able to survive in. One might argue that advances in technology will be able to compensate for mankind’s inability to survive in Space’s hostile environments. 
Assuming technology does progress to a point that mankind can safely live in space, the artistic implications of a lifestyle dependant on machines are very interesting. Imagine growing up in an environment where there was no sky. People associate the colors of the sky with the sky itself. Without the rigidity of growing up with gravity dictating that the ground is down and the sky is up, a person would have a different understanding of perspective and orientation. These would translate to different artistic perspectives, and could be very interesting. After a few generations, space would generate new cultures and artistic styles would diverge even more. Given the limit of communication speeds to the speed of light and the large distances between habitable worlds, there would be an element of isolation between planets. This would further contribute to the development of new cultures, and create an interesting environment for art to be created.
My final will center around the ideas of evolving organisms, swarm intelligence, and augmented reality, with a focus on using these technologies to create music. Particularly, I want to explore the idea that something vast and diverse as an ecosystem can create cohesive rhythms and tones. By placing fiduciary markers representing various natural conditions, the user will instantiate an ecosystem which a few randomly generated creatures will compete for survival in. I also want my project to be easily distributable and not have to function as an installation. The reason for this is that I believe interacting with simulations like this imparts a deeper understanding of the underlying principles; interacting with my project will begin to develop an intuitive understanding of how changing conditions can change the development of a swarm of evolving creatures. 
Matthew Robertson


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