Unconquered Earth is an interactive installation, in which observers personally experience the seismic destruction our planet is capable of. This installation displays the earth’s most destructive as well as current earthquakes, using an interactive globe, visualized data, and an audio-visual experience which responds to the destruction. It serves as a dialogue between human and nature—the constant struggle against a force beyond our control.
[Aug 29-31] Unconquered Earth
Frances Wang, Nicholas Kiray, Menglong Wu, John Sullivan
Fri, August 29 2014, 7pm Reception
Sat/Sun August 30/31 2014, 3-7pm Open to the public
596 Broadway, #602 | New York, NY 10012
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleecker
Unconquered Earth is an interactive installation — developed by Frances Wang, Nicholas Kiray, Menglong Wu and John Sullivan at Harvestworks — in which observers personally experience the seismic destruction our planet is capable of through the interaction of geological data. Unlike other types of natural disasters, (such as hurricanes and thunderstorms) earthquakes are unpredictable, which indefinitely gives humans an unfair disadvantage against the planet’s impending wrath. Human strives to conquer the planet and learn its secrets, however, one secret which humans are incapable of efficiently predicting, are the sporadic and almost whimsical movements of the earth’s tectonic plates. Through the eyes of human, the earth creates an endless struggle — the earth: the giver and taker of life and human: the mortal and “feeling” product of the planet are in a constant dialogue of destruction and recovery, unconquerable and acceptance. Although human is burdened with the feeling of desperation, simultaneously, hope always remains.
In “Unconquered Earth”, a type of balanced and unbalanced looping mechanism is created and applied throughout the entire production. In this sense, observers embody the role of “human” and through their interactions are the result and recovery of these seismic disasters. The observer (playing the role of human) controls the outcome of the installation’s behavior through a series of interactions using a natural interface. The installation reacts to the user’s choices, and responds on behalf of the earth: allowing the observer to observe its wrath through an audio-visual experience. “Unconquered Earth” also embodies a live element, consisting of the most current earthquakes which are generated in real-time. Every minute, the installation renews and viewers will experience first-hand: live earthquakes as they are currently happening. The duration and intensity of the algorithm in “Unconquered Earth” is dependent upon the destruction the earthquakes are capable of, acting as an emotional metaphor of the earth releasing energy and destroying homes and lives. It is through this concept that we, as humans, experience the constant struggle against a force beyond our control; the endless dialogue between earth and human.
Throughout the installation, viewers will experience the constant destruction and retaliation of human. As “Unconquered Earth” destroys, it will also recover. The piece will will gradually recover to its “healed” state, which is symbolic of human recovery. It runs indefinitely in conjunction with a live seismic data feed, in an exchange between the state of destruction and recovery, representing an endless cycle—the complexity of the human-and-nature relationship.
Frances Wang (Creative Direction, Interactive/Visual Programming, Sound Design)
Nicholas Kiray (UI Design, Visual Programming)
Menglong Wu (Visual Programming)
John Sullivan (Assistant Programming)