FAQ for the THEATER OF LOST SPECIES:
1. What's the big idea?
The Theater of Lost Species is an object for collective celebration and mourning, a catalyst for conversation, philosophical debate and ecological engagement. It is a device for both viewing and interacting with a collection of fantastic, yet extinct, sea creatures. The project is inspired by a number of influences such as Traveling Menageries, Chinese Lanterns and portable Camera Obscura devices from the 1800's, Time Capsules from the 1950-60's and various recreations of Noah's Arc. After reading Lydia Millet's Op-Ed in the NYT "The Child's Menagerie" we began the process of conceptualizing and designing the Theater. We set out to address Millet's question: "Can you feel the loss of something you never knew in the first place?"
2. What will visitors see through the viewing cones? What will it look like at night?
The long viewing cones focus on digital display screens that are portals to a seamless virtual aquarium. Within the aquarium, digital sea creatures swarm to the viewing cones, engaging the subtle motion of viewers. In the evening the theater will glow and pulsate as the swarms slowly navigate within the virtual aquarium. We are developing a custom physcial-digital interface using the Processing programming language (connecting Arduino microcontrollers, Infrared (IR) Sensors and LEDs) allowing viewers to actively engage the virtual creatures. We have been inspired by projects like Soda Constructor, Oasis andManifest (* these links will not work on iOS mobile devices).
3. How big is it and what will it be made out of?
The Theater has a footprint of approx. 12' x 12' and is 12' tall . It will be made out of lightweight Fiber Reinforced Panels (FRP) using Entropy Eco-Resins. The 15 unique hexagonal panels will be made by Kreysler & Assoc. in Napa. The glowing pins will be made out of translucent acrylic rods connected to super-bright LEDS. A custom steel chasis will connect all the pieces and will be bolted to the ground. The entire assembly will be protototyped at Future Cities Lab in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco.
4. How did you design and prototype this?
The Theater is being designed using Rhino and Grasshopper softwares with the Kangaroo and Firefly plug-ins. The interactive components are being programmed in Processing, Arduino, Python and Ruby. The physical components are being prototyped using a combination of laser cutting, cnc milling and 3d printing. Each viewing cone has three integrated IR sensors that allow the microcontrollers to sense visitors proximity which in turn activate the virtual swarm and glowing LEDs pins.
5. If I have more questions how do I contact you guys? How can I donate or sponsor the project?
You can contact us by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Funding and donations are being coordinated by Blue Trail (a non-profit dedicated to Ocean Sustainability and Education). Their website, sponsor and donation page can be found here. Project details can be found here.