In 2005/2006 the Interactive Architecture Workshop of the Bartlett School of Architecture were given a grant by the EPSRC to undertake a project devised by Unit 14 Professor Stephen Gage.

A group of 8-10 year old children from the Betty Layward School joined the development of Creating an Ecology which aimed to teach them that it is possible to create virtual creatures that live in the physical world and interact with each other in an ecology where people are the intruders.

Workshops

A series of workshops were conducted in the school with the group enabling them to conceive of creatures, develop their behaviours and enact them under a ceiling mounted camera recording their movements and reactions to each other. Their coloured hats allowed for motion tracking processes to be applied to the video with a view to analysing movement.

In an addition to reacting to each other we added a human intruder. They also drew storyboards of their creations in order to see their creatures develop over time.

Installation

The installation was situated in an observatory in the UCL quadrangle, London. A pressure sensitive floor was spread over the inside of the octagonal building and a projector was mounted through the telescope viewing hatch.

Built in Processing, each creature was programmed with a set of simple behaviours. We abstracted some of the behaviours created by the children and developed a virtual eco-system demonstrating the cycle of life and death, eating, reproducing and reaction to people present in the space.