More selected projects


This is an interactive simulation inspired by The Shell-Man and the Terror of the Bush, a short story by Amos Tutuola and a quote from Frederich Hayek at his Nobel Prize lecture in 1974.

Users can throw cowrie shells to influence the simulation and receive a divination reading.


By Akinsola Lawanson


The Shell-Man and the Terror of the Bush tells the fate of a man travelling through a bush with several encounters on his journey. He meets an iroko tree, a rock, a fortune-teller  and many other characters. I initially wanted to create a large dynamic landscape with these entities from the book for the interactive simulation. However, it was too heavy for the Raspberry pi so I chose to use a more representative, minimalist aesthetic.

In this project I wanted to explore the relationship between principles and behaviour. With the arrangement of the cowrie shells influencing the behaviour of the entities in the simulation. I also wanted to play with the idea of divination and its ability to produce futures.


For this project, I created two openFramework applications to both run the simulation and the image recognition app. I used a raspberry pi 4 to run the simulation and a raspberry pi 3 to run the image recognition app. I had to run them on different pi’s as the ofxCvPiCam addon couldn’t work on the Pi4.

Image Recognition App: This app uses frame differencing to detect when the cowrie shells change and contour detector to find the position of the cowrie shells. It then sends a message to the simulation app.  This app uses the following addons: ofXNetwork, ofxOpenCV, ofxCvPiCam

Simulation App: This app uses the following addons: ofxLSystem, ofxNetwork, ofxSpaceColonisation.


“He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plant” - Frederich Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek – Prize Lecture. Nobel Media AB 2021. Fri. 21 May 2021.