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Amidst the Chaos

Is the city alive? Think of it as a living body, with traffic lights, neons, high-rises and the people living with them, the city becomes alive amidst the chaos.

produced by: Peilu Chen


"Amidst The Chaos" explores the relationship between life and humanity in a chaotic world. In modern society, the border between artefacts and nature is blurred. As a city is the best place that reflects chaos, I set it as the background of the story and try to find life and power in this chaos. Artefacts in cities are lifeless, but when people live with them, they are given vitality and energy.

Concept and background research

Our model is three side-by-side cubes, which makes me think of some specific combinations, such as traffic lights, billboards or buildings.

Part 1-The Traffic

As one of the most common landmarks in the city, traffic lights play an important role in maintaining urban traffic. Incidents of being killed for failing to obey the traffic lights are constantly happening in cities. Therefore, I use the radio waves that symbolize life and the traffic lights to flash alternately. Under each flash of the traffic lights, countless lives are passing by and flowing.

Part2-The Neon

In the second part, I turn the cubes into neon signs. As a representative of the city's nightlife, neon signs bring brightness and vitality to the silent night. My design inspiration comes from the distinctive neon signs at the doorsteps of Hong Kong and Japanese nightclubs in the 1980s and 1990s, which are bolder in their colours, more eye-catching and more contemporary than today. The neon sign symbolizes the spirit of liberating oneself to pursue entertainment. Underneath it is the people in the city who long for hustle and bustle.

Part3-The high-rise

The third scene is high-rise and fire, and I render a glitch effect to show an unstable state. High-rises represent artefacts while the fire represents nature. The establishment of civilization is at the cost of destroying nature, and the preservation of nature also sacrifices civilization. The two present a contradictory and complex state between humanities and nature in modern cities that they coexist and influence each other. 

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It is a projection-mapped generative art piece by creative coding in OpenFrameworks (C++). I  adapt my graphics to the concept of my project by changes between simple shapes. In terms of hue, I use highly saturated colours to make it more suitable for black backgrounds. In some scenes, I make simple graphic interactions between different boxes or different surfaces in one box so that the graphics on each box can be connected. When drawing the wave, I use cos function to implement the linear change. Then, in the thrid scene, the glitch effect is created by ofDrawSubsection and ofNoise() method. In addition, I use ofRandom() in many scenes to achieve random effects.

Future development

I hope to further research on this concept to better reflect the contradiction between nature and humanities. The graphics and changes in this project are quite simple so that in the future, I want to explore more diversified changes between shapes and the combination of them to make them more dynamic. Also, I hope to increase the interactivity between models to better play their role.

Self evaluation

This is my first experience in projection mapping and I am satisfied with the results. But through this project, I also found a gap between creativity and technology, which requires me to find a balance between them. Another challenge is the model building. Due to the limitations of the place and the projector, we cannot suspend the cubes on the wall as planned and it is hard to fix our model. Finally, we lowered its position and fixed them from the ground.


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