Surrogate Being

'REFEST 2014, Culture Hub's Annual Art and Tech Festival', New York, NY

Software : Unity 3D, Arduino, Javascript
Custom Interface : Arduino, Tilt Switch, Potentiometer, Ultrasonic Sensor

Technical Specification:
The virtual world is mainly operated in a video game engine, Unity 3D, receiving data through serial communication. The microcontroller reads the value of distance between the screen and audience to define the position of virtual objects. At a certain distance, the deconstructed place becomes evened out, and a viewer is allowed to navigate the space with their body. The color of ambient light is consistently changed according to the real-time XML weather data from the actual location.

‘Surrogate Being’ is a virtual environment created relying on the artist’s almost faded memory of her hometown in Korea and on internet data source such as Daum maps, Google maps and Google earth. Floating in the air, objects in the space are disintegrated and clustered as a representation of her emotional imagery for the nostalgic place.

When visiting her home in Korea, where is the rapid-advancing country as new cutting-edge technologies are assimilated in a short period, she feels lost like a visitor. Whereas the up-to-date panoramic street view data displays altered scene of places in Korea, her memory of them has not been changed since she left. Looking remotely at the simulated landscape, she is uncertain if her memory has been distorted or the place has been dramatically changed. To reconcile this dichotomy, she recreates a place based on what she remembers resolving it with the Internet data.

A memory remains vague and abstract unless we recollect. As such, in ‘Surrogate Being,’ the audience can reassemble the fragmented landscape by going closer to the screen – When they are closer to the real world then the virtual, the buildings, streetlights and trees are tangled and floating in the air like a cloud. Audiences are allowed to navigate and explore in the artist’s reconstructed hometown once they are immersed by it.