Guess what I found in the ol’ maya/default/images folder? A blast from the past.
Back in 2006, Roland Ritter (of WROAD and USC) stopped me in the hall at SCIarc at a major review. I had been conducting my second seminar at the school and we were in different review groups ripping apart the 2GBX crowd. He mentioned that he with Jennifer Siegal (Office of Mobile Design) and Paulette Singley (Woodbury) were invited to the History Channel’s Los Angeles City of the Future Competition. I’d just completed my master’s thesis on computational techiques of biological architecture, so Roland invited me (and Emily White) to make some magic.
He tells me to stop by Jennifer’s office the next day to have a jam session. I’d never met her before, so I drop by and ask for Jennifer See-GAL (like as in Steven Seagal–give me abreak, you watch Under Siege and tell me it’s pronounced like Seagull). I could tell she wasn’t impressed, but I’m good at making a shitty first impression. This is where I got to meet the talented Matthew Fellows, now working for GP. Anyway, Emily, Matthew, Jennifer, Roland, and Paulette and I sat down to discuss the biological infranature project to be completed by the end of the week.
I started working on some cellular organism in Maya with some distribution and representational coding in MEL. These were the first set of animations we developed in the first few days.
Later we used more refined movies in HD quality in conjunction with some sort of Mac powerpoint-like program. Ultimately, we couldn’t record an HD DVD on a Mac, so I had to bring in my PC’s from home at midnight the night before we had to head to LACMA. Matthew and I finished the presentation recording on all discs at 7:10am, drove to the museum, and set up the show by 8:00am.
We ended up getting second place behind Eric Owen Moss and ahead of Xefirotarch. The ironic thing was that second place was the “design” award and third place was the “technology” award, yet we at OMD developed our own technology and programs to produce our simulations and Hernan’s crew just pulled CV’s around to make it look pretty. I guess Thom Mayne and the others on the jury couldn’t distinguish between technology and design. Big surprise.
BTW, I lost the codes to these organisms years ago. I’m surprised I even found these images. They were some innovated MEL scripts though, because each object had its own animated color schemes. Families of tones bred together and spread like a virus across the virtual Los Angeles-based landscapes. We could influence the distributions of previously-designed cells by establishing invisible driver curves and surfaces. So in short, I don’t have a code to post for you on this topic. Otherwise it’d be on the 0001d Blast wiki.
Any detailed drawings and writings about the project. Do you happen to know about any video documentation of the competition event.
I am curious not only about the process but about the selection of the winners.
The selection of the winners is a blog post in itself. 🙂
As for drawings, we as a team didn’t use any 2D utilities. I would say that 75% of the energy spent on this project in the short time frame we had was used to develop the concept, which was a lengthy animated powerpoint-like presentation. This presentation was peppered with animations and simulations of the organism generated from my script. To our credit, we worked out several problems that a city-wide biological organism would impose on the local infrastructure. This gave us a depth in our exhibition that was evidently absent in Hernan’s stylistic city-wide organism.
Unfortunately I don’t have a clue where that video is, and even if I had it, I don’t know if Jennifer would want it posted. I’ll see what I can do.