Im a Chicago based multimedia artist interested in interactive visualizations. I want to launch a virtual cultural center and studio; an interactive, digital museum for stories, cultural products, and virtual performances. To support this ive founded a design studio aimed at working with small businesses and creatives in underserved communities. I'm looking to encourage a robust movement that fosters the arts and the local businesses that make up the cultural and social fabric of minority communities. I'm starting with a collection of works based on environmental data from communities of color negatively affected by industry, using this as the framework I am looking to platform the work of creatives from these communities. I am doing this through a series of virtual environments and venues, connected by a virtual museum. Each of these surreal 3D environments is created from abstracted street map illustrations and drone photography of the affected areas. I would like to create virtual gathering spaces for local narratives through both the exhibitions in the museum and interactive performances in the environments/venues linked to the museum. The following is a timeline of the project's devolopment.
Fragmented map selections extruded and backlit.
A bridge structure leading to an ensnared figure partially made of/textured by Pittsburgh glyphs.
River Rouge is one of the most polluted zip codes in the country (48217) , it sits adjacent to one of the most polluted rivers in the country. One bank of this river is lined with factories and railyards, the other bank is home to a residential area. The map isolates all industrial water containment facilities and rail lines among the houses.
Borders, Roads, Intersections and other lines form the shapes that carve glyphs into the land. These glyphs give rise to the communities that personify the lines they’re made of. I'm interested in the deconstruction and re-abstraction of these lines. They were all at one point, malleable drawings on the paper of a city planner or architect, and while I am neither of those, I’d like to create illustrations of environments that are vaguely familiar to many. There is an organicness to the bare lines of urban sprawl, an organicness that often substitutes the environment it sits atop. I'd like to juxtapose urban/industrial landscapes with a world of organic shapes and patterns made from the highways, factories, and mills that interlace, bind and often anchor the neighborhoods that surround them. These communities are more often seen from above than from street level. This top down view abstracts the humanity of these places in the same way that the glyphs we leave behind abstract our presence on the earth.
Chicago | South/West Sides
East Chicago/Indiana. The 25 most polluted wards of the city are all located in the city's south and west sides adjacent to communities of color, the map of Cook County pictured highlights these wards over a partially rehabilitated industrial dump site and abandoned steel factory plot, a few blocks from neighboring communities.
In Chicagos far southeast industrial corridor is Big Marsh: Under this site, a cache of toxic materials that could not be removed from the area and was instread buried and capped. This cap is only built to last 100 years and as it begins to leak it joins the rest of the environmental waste degrading the communities of color still anchored around these abandoned sites.
( In Progress: Game/Platform Design Concepts )
I began to make 3D environments to showcase the Glyphs. These surreal environments were often made of and textured with the glyphs. While building them It felt as though I were exploring them as I would teh abandoned sites they were based on. I want to bring this exploration to others as I would often bring my friends to abandoned industrial sites, a guided tour of sorts. The first variation of this new guided exploration was a VR/360 animation flying through these 3D scenes. I wanted the viewer to have more freedom to explore though, more space within these environments to learn about the real circumstances of the communities in the familiar symbols they were looking at.
To do this I have been expanding the animated scenes into fully interactive virtual worlds that will serve as levels in a video game. The plot of the game will be based in a virtual venue, a cultural center from which players can explore exhibitions presenting the data visualizations and footage before transporting the players into the 3d environments that grew from them. The architecture of the game will be open ended so as to allow for me to continue adding levels to explore and virtual exhibitions to present the reality they reflect.
Under Construction: Looking towards the back of the venue at the Crystal Hangar and skylights
The Enterance, Crystal hangar details, View from empty first half, lightcube portal and semicompleted first half/ upper levels of the venue.
The first external level consisting of the reminants of 'Dia' an earth crystal reliant culture. Their crystals power various relic technology, once that level's challange is completed the hangar can be acessed via scale shifting abilities. (level based on the beirut explosion glyphs)
The second half of the Cultural Center, an archive documenting/explaining the real world locations behind the Glyphs, runes and symbols in the game via textiles and interactive galleries.
Powers the archive and hangar, aquired/powered from the Diawara level. A portal to the ruins of a hybrid culture that formed as a response enviormental erosion.