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Seasonal Maps: Games of limited agency

Four interactive fully-generative code-based works, four types of limited agency at the root of human motivations for mapping - to monitor, name/own, build and travel.

Like the 4 environmental seasons, with their opposing features of heat / cold / scarcity / abundance, each piece is a stand-alone work with its own seasonal texture or mood:

Surveillance Season is a screen to monitor a rain of fragments. The more monitoring performed by the viewer, the more imaginary tokens they receive. Futile work.

Network Season (AKA Psychedelic Islands) features gentle explosions; randomly-generated arrangements of color and shape palettes. A straight-lined symbol or identifier is created from the connections between their epicenters. This translation is a mapping action - distilling complexity into a line on a drawing, pinning the data down, taming by naming. (400 outputs an be viewed here)

Blueprint Season is a game with an identical starting point and endless variations of density, brightness and pattern within the narrow confines of an extremely limited palette and a 10 x 10 gridded structure. While a user can control outcomes to a point, the 100 grids continue to randomly generate, soon over-writing.

Escape Season is a navigation game with only a hint of purpose.

User control and interfaces are explored in all the pieces, sometimes using clear instructions (click OK when the computer tells you to in Surveillance Season), sometimes requiring discovery (in Network Season, while color palettes and constellation lines are fixed, random for each of 400 outputs, the forms are surprisingly dynamic with mouse click / touch screen / resize). In Blueprint Season and Escape Season the user can start to directly shape the visual outcomes.

Seasonal Maps are explorations of assumed interfaces and world-making. Attempted control, incomplete knowledge, a thin thread of the logic beneath chaos, as if the convenient neatness of their quartet gives them meaning when taken together.

Seasonal Maps were created during an intensive period of community learning in the Mathcastles server, home of the seminal Terraforms computer art project, through a course generously created and delivered by artist 113. I’m immeasurably grateful to the inspiration and social context he has built and gifted.

Futile and obedient labour of surveillanceColor palettes and constellation lines are fixed, random at mint, explosions of color rearrange with each mouse click / touch screen - barely controlled chaos.The user can shape the visual outcomes for a moment before their intentions are over-writtenTesting assumptions of control of speed, scale and direction

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