Ars Electronica

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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Nerve Garden & other Cyberbiological Worlds of
Bruce Damer

Cyberspace is now evolving beyond being merely an "interface" (something you just point and click on) to becoming a true "place" (which you enter and inhabit). Hundreds of thousands of people now enter 3D cyber-cityscapes, communicating through digital bodies called "avatars" (visit ). As the human colonization of Cyberspace begins, one might ask, will life follow us into digital space, and why? Human civilization is in fact a collective of evolving biota and there is no reason to doubt that several forms of this biota will find their way into a sufficiently rich Cyberspace. Digital biota, freed of the constraints of atomic body mass, will evolve much more rapidly and travel at light-speed through networks or even beyond out into the solar system. The digital form of life could well become the chrysalis phase of new matter biota spun into atoms through molecular nanofabrication. And why would life do this? The destruction of the Earth and all that dwell at the bottom of its gravity well is assured once the sun enters old age as a red giant. The best route out of the hatchery is on wings of light.

The project was initiated in 1995 to provide a pathway for biological function and form to enter and energize an inhabited virtual world Cyberspace. Inspired by the synthetic ecosystem works of researchers and artists such as Tom Ray, Karl Sims, Larry Yeager, Demetri Terzopoulos and others, brings the dedicated of many disciplines together in conferences and in projects. Nerve Car-den I was one such early project. In Nerve Garden's many jungle islands in the net, visitors used ordinary home computers to germinate their own mutations of plants from mathematical logic called L-systems. They then placed these plants on an island of their choice and rode the backs of insects around the emerging world. Algorithmically generated light-ening and sound flashed and reverberated across these strange new lands. Future versions of Nerve Garden will provide an ecosystem so that the gardens will continue to grown and be consumed by the "polyvore" polygon eating creatures. One last thing: I don't want to sound like I did it all myself. My coutributors to the project are: Todd Goldenbaum, Chris Laurel, Karen Marcelo, Frank Revi, Markus Roskothen.Tim Riley.