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.
Bush Soul (#3) - Interactive Art Installation (1999)
by Rebecca Allen
Mark Mothersbaugh -Mutato Muzika
Additional Audio: Franz Keller / Jay Flood
This work is partially funded by a grant from the Intel Corporation.
2018 / 2019
• Rebecca Allen Sync (Emerge(Consciousness)) QUAD Gallery, Derby, UK. Solo exhibition. QUAD Gallery, Derby, UK. November 9, 2108 - February 3, 2019.
• ACM1: Beyond Cyberspace Exhibition, (The Bush Soul #3) San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA.
• SHIFT-CTRL: Computers, Games and Art Exhibition, Beall Center for Art and Technology University of California Irvine. Irvine, CA.
• Art Futura Exhibition, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo. Seville, Spain.
• Ground Zero Exhibition, The Tech Museum of Innovation. San Jose, CA.
• Interactive Frictions Exhibition, University of Southern California (USC). Los Angeles.
• Siggraph Emerging Technologies Exhibition, LA Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA.
• Life Science, Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria.
• Electronic Rituals, Intermedia Arts Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
• Art and Aesthetics of Artificial Life, (The Bush Soul #2) UCLA Center for Digital Arts, Los Angeles, CA.
• Siggraph Art Exhibition, (The Bush Soul #2) Orlando Convention Center, Orlando FL.
• Doors of Perception 5: Play, (The Bush Soul #2) Netherlands Design Institute, Amsterdam.
• Virtual Africa, Royal Museum of Central Africa, Belgium, and web-based virtual exhibition. Curator: Jocelyne Rotily, February 1998, ongoing.