Priscilla Bracks’ and Gain Sade’s e. Meura Superba (2009) is a robotic bird sculpture. Besides its slightly terrifying exterior, the bird is equipped with facial recognition and tracking software. As a result, when people approach the bird, the bird can sometimes look directly into their eyes. Additionally, the bird can become nervous in large groups of people, or become distant and moody when ignored. According to the creators, e. Menura Supurba is an interactive artwork and it explores the paradox between people’s fascination with the exotic and a dystopian future devoid of many animal species. The bird was modeled off of the Australian lyre bird, known for its ability to mimic natural and human sounds in their habitats. I chose this project because it reminded me of rumors about pigeons being robots placed by the government to spy on the public. The camera eye and shutter noise are off-putting because it feels like the bird is collecting information on you. However, I love the sporadic movement of its head and the continuously changing glow of its body. When I look at the piece, there’s a mix of fascination and terror, which only makes me want to see what it’ll do next.
Priscilla Bracks and Gavin Sade – eMeuraSuperba, Robotic Sculpture 2009
My initial goals for this project was to create a mesmerizing space with shapes, so I wanted to focus a lot on creating an animation that has objects flying through and out of the frame and one that felt less static. I wanted to implement rotation as part of my infinite loop, where shapes will loop out of the frame, and then loop back in. I also wanted to create a funnel-like and vortex kind of motion with the shapes, where the distance from the center of the vortex allows objects to behave differently. I later chose to use rectangles for every object, as every different kind of rectangle had its own behavior. The paths of the flying rectangles were defined by various equations, where I combined the sin, cos, and tan equations while adding rotation to create different orbit behaviors.
I think my living-wallpaper is a good starting point as a living wall-paper, but I could have added better rotational elements and visuals to create more character within each of the objects. I think playing with color, and how color and value changes as the objects rotate would’ve made this project more successful, since it still reads as a 2-D twirl and less of a 3-D vortex. I think the background could also be further developed and strengthen the the warping of a vortex and containing more depth in color.
I am really drawn into the shape of the gradients in motion, where the shape sort of mimics how a submarine light shines underwater; the light becomes muffled and takes a softer form. The way the “submarine light” appearing objects bounce from positive form to negative form is such an interesting visual, and the way it transforms from light to dark and dark to light in a revolving pattern generates a 3-dimensional creates a space that is so simple yet complex and mesmerizing at the same time.