CELLS is a new region-wide animated installation created by Moki Yuitza that is now open at Electric Monday’s The Sim Quarterly. As is common with exhibits in this Homestead Region – and as indicated by the region’s name – the installation will remain open for a period of three months, allowing people plenty of time to visit and re-visit.
Moki’s work embraces many subjects – the art of creativity, the relationships between sound and colour, perception, the inner workings of the mind, the interpretation of dreams, explorations of abstraction, geometry and more. Several of these aspects are combined within CELLS to present a unique environment that is both frustrating and fascinating at the same time.
Before visiting the installation, you should make sure your viewer is correctly set-up:
- Enable Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) – Preferences → Graphics → ensure Advanced Lighting Model is checked. Note there is no need to have Shadows enabled as well.
- Set your Draw Distance to greater than the width of a region – I would suggest 300m.
- Ensure your viewer is set to Use Shared Environment – menus → World → Environment → make sure Use Shared Environment is checked.
- Consider using the region’s audio stream as it adds a certain aural depth to the installation.
Teleporting will initially deliver you to a sky platform over the main installation where a note card on the installation will be offered. Be aware that the avatar mover at the landing point can be a little aggressive – it planted me in a wall with sufficient force to leave me stuck and in need of a teleport offer from Caitlyn to get free.
Once safely on the platform, touch the blue glowing sphere in the opposite corner to the landing point to be transferred to ground level and the installation itself, which Moki describes as an attempt to look inside the brain of an artificial intelligence to determine how it works, and what we might see as a result.
It’s a highly abstract idea – we all probably have our own views on the matter – and Moki’s presentation is thus justifiably abstract and entirely unique. Blending light, colour, motion and – if you opt to have the audio stream active – sound, the installation is perhaps best described as a kind of lattice of cube-like (or the most part) spaces that climbs upwards through several levels.
Within the cubic spaces of this lattice are groupings of spheres – some coloured and solid, some themselves a simple lattice, some large, some small. Some sit within defined cubes, others float freely. Every so often, and frequently in close succession, these groupings on sphere will rotate around a central axis (with those inside a defined cube turning with the frame of the cub itself) to create new alignments with their neighbours.
Given the context of the installation, this motion perhaps suggests the passage of thought and / or the firing of individual synapses and the AI brain processes information. And visitors can become part of this: at the centre is a double helix-like strand of ramps that climb up through the installation. I doubt their form is accidental, but I’ll leave it to visitors to determine how they interpret them. Along the way they pass through the levels of the installation, allowing visitors to step off the ramps and wander through the spheres as they rotate.
It is here that frustration creeps in as frankly, travelling on foot through CELLS diminishes both its beauty and its complexity. This an installation that should the soared through and witnessed from within and without. As such, I urge you to consider taking flight when visiting (and if you’re comfortable flying in Mouselook, so much the better), or if (like me) you are graced with a 3D mouse – make use of it.
Simply put, beings able to free translate movement from vertical to horizontal and to be able to rise and fall through this installation without constraint utterly alters one’s perspective and heightens appreciation of, and engagement with, CELLS.
A colourful, engaging, potentially mesmerizing and visually impressive, installation, CELLS is definitely worth taking time to visit and explore (again,particularly aerially). For those who like hunting gifts, look out for the conical white prims that are scattered through the installation and rotate around their own axes. Touch the right one and accept the folder it offers, and you might just gain a reward for your efforts.
- CELLS (The Sim Quarterly, rated Moderate)