Children of Arcadia

by Mark Skwarek, Joseph Hocking, Arthur Peters, and Damon Baker 2007-2009

Children of Arcadia is a real-time virtual ecosystem which undergoes the stress test of apocalypse to expose the moral fiber of its inhabitants and the flaws in their idealized utopia. Virtual reality and augmented reality are used to combine the physical world of downtown Manhattan with a virtual Arcadia. The work gathers real-time information related to the American economy and society and translates it into either a utopia or apocalypse.

- large projection at Boston Cyberarts 2009

Children of Arcadia takes place in a virtual mirror of downtown Manhattan's financial district. The work creates a virtual overlay that carves away at the capitalist utopia of the financial district with lush rolling green hills. Great care was taken so that the virtual hills, forest, and architecture are in alignment with the architecture and physical space of the financial district. The New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Hall Memorial building, and the Federal Reserve are left in their real forms. These buildings and what they represent determine the fate of the Society inhabiting Arcadia.

- monitor shot at Boston Cyberarts 2009

This piece has been shown multiple times, including the Krannert Art Museum, the Sunshine Museum in Beijing, Boston Cyberarts, and soon the Golden Thread Gallery at ISEA.

- home video taken at Boston Cyberarts 2009

Conceived of and physically installed by Mark Skwarek, the piece was programmed by Joseph Hocking, with Arthur Peters contributing to the code and Damon Baker contributing as an advisor.

- mid 2008 screencap panning across valley

- mid 2008 screencap showing lightning strike

For more information about the piece visit the project's website.

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