DATA NARRATIVES: ANTARCTICA

2021-2023

Artists: Benjamin Bacon, Vivian Xu

Scientist Collaborator: Yajuan Lin

Data Visualization & Simulation Developer: Yechen Wang

The Data Narratives: Antarctica project is a mixed reality data-rich simulation game and VR experience that investigates the complex realities of life and work on the frozen continent. The piece presents a simulated reality through the lens of Palmer Station, a permanent U.S. research program based on Anvers Island on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Through layering real-world information and data from scientific, cultural, and geo-political perspectives into the simulated reality, Data Narratives: Antarctica creates a parallel universe that allows audiences to experience and contemplate issues surrounding environmental and climate crises, ethics, and human survival.

 

The project is developed in collaboration with oceanographer Yajuan Lin, who’s research in marine micro-plankton diversity and carbon cycles around the Southern Ocean informs the scientific component in the game world and provides the foundation for the project’s world view. Specifically, the work features Lin’s research data collected between 2012-2017 near and around Palmer Station that provide a window into the region’s climate fluctuations. The piece utilizes mixed reality approaches in bringing complex abstract topics into tangible experiences for audiences through design fiction and storytelling. The piece is designed for VR platforms, but also includes an accessible video game version to allow broader public engagement beyond the gallery and museum space.

 

This is a case study by designer / artist duo Benjamin Bacon and Vivian Xu in developing design fiction narratives based on real-world environmental data that speculates on the future of human survival. This project is funded by the Duke Kunshan University Data Science Research Center Data+X Grant 2021-2023, and supported by the Design, Technology, and Radical Media Labs (DTRM) at Duke Kunshan University

Data Narratives: Antarctica will premiere at UABB: The 9th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen, China from November 25th, 2022 to February 25th, 2023.

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Data Narratives: Antarctica

Game Map Design (top)

Antarctica Map Concept Art (bottom)

Data Narratives: Antarctica

Lab Level Design

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Data Narratives: Antarctica

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Book of Codes Diatom RNA Data Sample Page (bottom)

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