Children of Arcadia ::::: Project Overview

trailer for Children of Arcadia

Federal Hall Memorial - physical space

Federal Hall Memorial - virtual copy

Children of Arcadia is a real-time virtual ecosystem which undergoes the stress test of apocalypse to expose the moral fibers of its inhabitants and the flaws in their idealized utopia. Virtual reality and augmented reality are used to combine the physical world of downtown Manhattan with a virtual environment called Arcadia. The work gathers real-time information from the Internet related to the American economy and society and translates this data into either a utopia or apocalypse. These changes create a living 17th-century Baroque painting that shifts between a representation of apocalyptic ruin and one of an idealized utopia.



Arcadia - utopia

Arcadia - apocalypse

Throughout history artists have made work that gives context to the society in which they lived. Children of Arcadia expands on this concept by creating a work that is always up-to-date with American society's current status.

Arcadia and its inhabitants have their fate determined by information gathered from the Internet. The state of the US is reflected in the state of Arcadia. Similarly, the US is reflected in Arcadia. Children of Arcadia takes place in downtown Manhattan's financial district. The work creates a virtual overlay that carves away at the capitalist utopia of the financial district with lush rolling green hills. Great care was taken so that the virtual hills, forest, and architecture are in alignment with the architecture and physical space of the financial district. Left in place are the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Hall Memorial building, and a modified Federal Reserve. These buildings and what they represent determine the fate of the society inhabiting Arcadia.


NYSE_downNYSE stockcrash video


As experienced in several gallery installations, the work is similar to a large-scale painting that has come to life. A panoramic image of Arcadia is projected large in the exhibition space. Gallery viewers use a video game controller to explore the environment from a first-person view.

Another component of the project is high quality surround sound. Odds are very strong that it will rain with thunder and lightning throughout the duration of the show. The sound design was carefully considered and great measures were taken to acquire the sounds of the piece. The sound gives the work a rich spatialized feeling. Surround sound reinforces the viewer's immersion in the work.


augmented reality video


The project melds physical and virtual reality to establish an embodied experience. While the primary experience is an entirely virtual world, viewers in New York City will be able to go to Wall Street and wear special glasses [a Head Mount Display- HMD] for an Augmented Reality experience of the piece.


on site documentation


Besides existing site-specific installations in galleries, Children of Arcadia also has a multiuser version in development.The multiuser online version will allow home viewers with a personal computer to participate in the work. A home user may log into the virtual world and exist in the same space.


arcadia_3dmulituser video