Terratic Animism

Jakob Kudsk Steensen

United States
VR/AR Award

Terratic Animism is a virtual reality project, where people are free to roam around a digital winter forest. Inside of the forest are screens, which depict videos and photographs, which re-stageds images from an article in the NY times from 1937. The article was titled "Looking at the world of tomrrow through yesterdays layer of snow", and its subject was the utopian themed worlds fair in Brooklyn at the time. Photographs of the fair covered in snow were used to contrast the utopian dreams of the fair with the looming gloom of WW2. My main source of inspiration for Terratic Animismat was a form of dystopian ecology zeitgeist, that I felt dominated popular science and media. Wearing a self-made costume made of mylar, I filmed myself exploring derelict infrastructures along a river leading through Green Mountain National forest. The virtual forest is made by converting video and photography into 3D models and textures. I adjusted the rendering process to optimize it in a way, that allowed me to achieve a high level environment running in real-time in fully interactive virtual reality. To make the work, I spent one month crawling through tunnels in derelict water plants, abandoned factories and an old rusty school bus. While exploring the landscape wearing my costume, I started to thinking about digital animation as a form of animism. I started to see virtual replicas of real world locations as primal practices we do as humans to develop sign systems we can use, in order to connect and merge with entire landscapes.

Unreal Engine 4, Maya, C++, Speedtree, GTX Titan x Pascal, photoshop, DSLR, height-maps, sattelite data

Terratic Animism (1080p demo version)