A Mass of Radiant Flies and a Body

Aaron Oldenburg.

Artist Statement

Decomposition and recomposition, forces that consume and combine, create this procedurally-generated environment. The non-playable character walks straight ahead through the forest and fields, the invisible parts of which are activated by the sound of rain. The visible flora and human/animal remnants of the landscape have been extracted from the results of AI text-to-image prompts, hand traced and animated as black silhouettes.

Prompts from which I derived trees, flowers, bushes, mounds and structures included, “bone formation under water”, “driftwood shaped like sleeping person”, “tree with sudden strong wind disappearing on water”, “moss ruin brain stem”, “wildflower nodding rattling”. These also inspired glimpses of humans created by the landscape.

There are other entities that wander the simulation as animals: sleeping, searching, eating, scratching (via an original game AI algorithm). Visually, they are blades of grass, bushes, moving and crying out like cats and rodents, creatures literally living on through the plants, decomposition exposing the permeability of separate existences.

In the Styly link, the audiences is surrounded by video capture on four sides. The realtime software can be found here: https://aaronoldenburg.itch.io/flies

About the artists

Aaron Oldenburg is a Baltimore-based game, interactive and video artist. His work has exhibited in festivals and galleries in New York, Johannesburg, London, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Los Angeles, including SIGGRAPH, A MAZE. International Games and Playful Media Festival, the LeftField Collection at EGX Rezzed, Slamdance DIG, Game On! – El arte en el juego, and FILE Electronic Language International Festival. His games have been written about in Kill Screen, Baltimore City Paper, BmoreArt, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

He teaches game design as a professor in The University of Baltimore’s Simulation and Game Design program and has an MFA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His writing on games has been published in Game Studies, Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, Hyperrhiz, and the proceedings of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA). In October 2003 he finished two years as an HIV Health Extension Agent for the Peace Corps in Mali.

Credits: Aaron Oldenburg

URL: https://aaronoldenburg.itch.io/

ISEA2024 acknowledges the Turrbal and Yugara as the First Nations owners of the lands where the symposium will be held. We pay our respects to their elders, lores, customs and creation spirits. We also acknowledge and pay respects to all First Nations peoples across the continent and beyond Australian shores.