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Paweł Janicki

Oceanus (2011) is a complex installation that allows viewers to experience interactive storytelling controlled by authoring software created by the artist. The idea of the work, on the structural level as well as the story level, is based on a variety of concepts and terms connected with navigating the sea. Notions like exploring the unknown, setting courses, observing nature, using navigational tools and being prepared for the unexpected are transposed into the media environment and provide the symbolic basis of the installation.  More  

The symbols are elements of an interface that enables viewers to navigate the Oceanus universe, which combines traditionally linear narrative sequences with generative processes and modifiable structures based on the users’ choices. The principal visual metaphor of the work is a nautical chart, whose characteristics are reflected in the image that the viewers watch and control. The scenario of Oceanus is rooted in European literature and mythology associated with the sea, the Viking sagas, and — most of all — in medieval text, Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis by the anonymous author from the 10th century.

The installation is driven by a software authoring tool designed by Janicki. Called The Map, the program is a complex system that creates and plays back interactive narration units, allowing viewers to build structures and make choices as in object—oriented systems, like Pure—Data or Max/MSP. It also maintains temporal dependencies and interrelations that structure the plot through the use of classic narrative motifs typical of linear media.

The physical arrangement of the installation consists of a specially designed table with hidden electronics and an integrated large—format touch screen that gives several users simultaneous access to the objects displayed. They can select and move these objects, and by doing so, they experience events in their „voyage” across Oceanus. On a second vertical screen near the table, viewers can watch video images and by doing so, track the linear results of the processes triggered by manipulating the interface on the touch screen.

The work is part of the WRO collection and was realized within the EU project Moving Stories.

Place and date of recording: Moving Stories exhibition, WRO Art Center, Wrocław, May—September, 2011


artist's bio
Paweł Janicki (PL), b. 1974, works with generative music and algorithmic composition of sounds and images. He is co—founder of the Mikro Orchestra (ex—Gameboyzz Orchestra Project), a collective, exploring „lo—fi” esthetics, using computer gaming consoles. His performances, installations, web and interactive applications often refer to the electronic and electro—acoustic avant—garde, as well as utilize revitalized military and commercial technologies.
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