These are screen grabs from inside NEOS VR where I’m working on a new project. Meta Creation in NEOS VR is a BBMC collaboration between myself and my long-time colleague, Dr. Jeremy Turner in Vancouver. We are working with multiple layers of scripting and specialized programs to create unique NPCs (Non-Player Characters) that “live” in the Virtual Reality world of NEOS VR. Our NPCs are special in that they are designed to be independent synthetic artists, autonomously creating their own unique musical compositions as they interact with users.

This project has been funded by the Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada, and so we are able to work closely with programmers in both NEOS VR, and outside of the platform. I am currently experimenting with a program called MASOM (Musical Agent based on Self Organizing Maps, by Kivenc Tatar) – which utilizes machine learning to generate unique musical compositions based on audio files that I “train” the program to create from.

Jeremy and I are both working with related themes – haunting, sorrow, ghosts. Jeremy is creating a composer who creates requiems, based on input from the user. My NPC is the ghost of a whale who sings sad songs to the user, within a haunted underwater environment.

More documentation and exhibition announcement coming soon. In the meantime, here is an interview with Heather Barrett of CBC’s Weekend Arts magazine, where I talk about working in VR and what it is like to be creating a synthetic artist.