AMBIENT 5, Music For Casual Encounters is a computer animation about the interactions between people. The girl who makes my coffee at the cafe around the corner, the guy who let me merge into the traffic, the elderly man who used to walk past my place at 9am every morning in a raincoat*, whether it was 40 or 2 degrees Celsius. It is about the people who watch me cycle by, the man who ponders life every afternoon as he strolls along the footpath, the school girls giggling at me from the bus stop. It tells of the busker who can only play a single tune, the friendly beggar who plays none but greets me drunkenly as I hurry along Brunswick St.
For a moment we are part of a single unit, connected by a smile, a wink, a nod or wave. Even just a fleeting glance. As we part, this connection bursts like a bubble or the membrane of a cell as it divides. The eye contact we share, the momentary link between us, shapes my days, my years. These encounters shape me.
This piece is a virtual / artificial life animation. The cell-like objects (called Solid Cellular Automata or SOCA) operate under simple programs which allow them to sense and respond to the state of the cells which neighbour them in the virtual fluid suspension. These programs affect the movement of the cells so that they may link up with one another, repel one another or orient themselves in specific directions with respect to one another. I have published several papers and a PhD on this Artificial Life work.