Concept

Cirrus is a live, real-time generative art installation in downtown Chicago at 150 North Riverside Plaza. It presents two intertwined dynamic systems as architectural-scale ornamentation, coupling a real-time fluid simulation with a carefully tuned reaction-diffusion mechanism to produce morphing tapestries of chemical interactions. As material is consumed and propagated within the boundaries of the video wall’s blades, strangely familiar patterns of coral reefs or leopard spots emerge, swirling among diagrams of entirely alien designs. Occasional waves of disturbance shock the system, never destroying it entirely, its hidden gradients always transforming below the surface.

Development

This piece was developed in TouchDesigner and implements the 2d incompressible fluid simulation and reaction-diffusion using GLSL, with show control and logic written in Python. Reaction-diffusion is coupled to the density field and the speed of the reactions were fed back into the velocity field to add dynamic curl based on pattern formation. To add variety to the boundary conditions, each blade of the wall was assigned an integer and is periodically modified throughout the day by a Euclidean rhythm generator to ground the choices in appealing musical patterns.

Videos are sped up 5x.

Team

Role: Concept, development, integration
Curator: Yuge Zhou
System and software backend: LEVIATHAN
Design and fabrication: McCann Systems, Digital Kitchen
Branding design: The Narrative