37. Nga Manawataki o te Koiora: Biorhythms 

Uncalculated (aka Rewa Wright & Simon Howden), Nelson Whakatū

Nga manawataki o te koiora: Biorhythms, is a projection mapping and installation piece that takes you on a journey into a computational transduction of the forest, rivers and oceans of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Visually, an interconnected natural ecology is translated into the real-time world of audio reactive geometries and mesh topologies. The concept was to convey the feeling of these taonga, without literal interpretation. Traditional kete inspire fluid movements which become pixel topologies. Animated motion made with noise oscillators, shift from reimagined hīnaki used to catch eel, to seed pods exploding from pixel plants, such as the pōhutukawa. The soft blue/green of kina become fluffy vectors transparently overlaid on a fluid mesh of waves, breaking apart and transforming into soft lines that converge and melt.

Following and modifying the tradition of naturalism and curvilinear geometry that distinguishes Māori artistic expression, this piece visually encapsulates the feeling of the natural world without being a literal representation. Insodoing, it challenges Western pictorial traditions of realism, decolonising the digital tools of computational geometry. Re-assembling those tools through the mode of creation that Rewa Wright describes as tā rorohiko, this complex audio reactive geometry is further combined with the electrical signals of living plants, who co-create the work.

This 20-minute piece, created in Touch Designer, is sonically a composite of human and plant music, alternately interspersed and mixed together. From the ‘human’ side, music consists of three original electronic compositions by Simon Howden, also a reggae and dancehall producer, who has over 40 million hits on various streaming platforms. From the plant music side, we intersperse original recordings of plant electrical signals (ie. biorhythms) captured in research since 2019. We consider plants to be co-composers of this work.

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