Bush Soul (#3) - 1999


The Bush Soul (#3) is the third piece in a series of interactive artworks that explore the role of human presence in a virtual world inhabited by artificial life. 

In West Africa there's a belief that a person has more than one soul and that there's a type of soul called the bush soul that dwells within a wild animal of the bush. 

In this work a person's "soul", represented as a sphere of pulsing energy, enters a virtual world (a virtual bush) that is alive and responsive. The world's inhabitants are brought to life through programs that define their behaviors and desires. Complex social environments can emerge from the interaction of simple behaviors. The computer generated characters, artificial life forms, can be endowed with "feelings" towards any object in the world. These feelings drive a character's movements and affect its reactions. 

A force-feedback joystick provides both navigation and tactile sensations. It serves as a connection between your physical body and virtual soul. Through the joystick one can feel the "energy" of the environment as vibrations emanate from certain creatures and significant places in the virtual world. 

As you explore the environment you may inhabit the body of certain artificial life forms. Your soul may also be expelled from a creature's body if the creature so desires or through the push of a button. 

With this work the artist has created a living abstract world that responds to human interaction. Although influenced by video games, there is no conclusion or finality, only continual exploration and pleasure.


Exhibition History