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      theory-fiction world-building, 2023
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    Other Spring

    2023


    Exhibitions

    • 1/2024 - 2/2024 - - Singapore Art Week 2024, - Objectifs, Singapore, Singapore
    • 10/2023 - - The Interface Between Humanity and the Universe 3.0 天人之境 v3.0, - China Academy of Art, China, Shanghai Curated by Ziyang Wu
    • 9/2023 - - Ars Electronica, Austria, Linz
    • 5/2023 - - Elektra Virtual Museum, Canada, Montreal
    • 5/2023 - - HMG, South Korea, Yongin

    Other Spring (OS) is a theory-fiction world-building project.

    “No design framework is perfect or complete. All design frameworks foreground certain notions at the expense of others. So, it’s a matter of priorities–what are values that we collectively think are important?”

    Interview between Dawn Chan and zzyw, published on Hyundai Artlab Editorial, May 02, 2023

    Film snapshot: UNO

    Film snapshot: OS Village

    Brief

    “Other Spring” (OS) is a speculative worldbuilding project presented as a docufiction. Using the unique creative approach of worldbuilding, it critically examines the profound impact of computational media, automation, and artificial intelligence on society and culture.

    Inspired by the ancient Chinese fable “The Peach Blossom Spring,” the project explores the possibility of “heretic computing” (a term coined by media theorist Alexander R. Galloway). It challenges our society’s prevailing understanding of “computing” as the pursuit of efficiency, convenience, and data exchange.

    Film snapshot: UNO’s data-transferring network

    Set in a not-too-distant future where the all-powerful AI-driven network UNO (Universal Network Observer) becomes the bedrock of reality, OS reflects the urgent need to safeguard privacy, user agency, and individuality in our increasingly interconnected society.

    In the world of this docufiction, the world is divided into two completely different parts: UNO, a panoptic automated society run by Neural Network-powered artificial intelligence, and “Other Spring,” a haven protected by H.A.Z.E from the network. The haze represents an intricate technical infrastructure of middleware and unique protocols embodying unconventional algorithmic design philosophies.

    In this world, the haze enables OS to stay invisible, allowing inhabitants to retain individuality, heterogeneity, and cultures to coexist harmoniously.

    The project blends reality with speculative fiction by combining media theory, cryptography, network engineering, and architectural theory. It does this in an attempt to challenge our understanding of information society and the power dynamics it brings.

    The growing influence and control of algorithms over our lives, coupled with the erosion of privacy and agency in the digital age, underscore the urgency of this subject.

    OS proposes a unique approach of fusing theory, creative usage of technology, and the concepts of fog and haziness to demonstrate the immense potential of heretic computing and alternative algorithms.

    It emphasizes the importance of opacity, intimacy, and intrinsic value in computational design. It invites media theorists, artists, designers, and game developers into deeper dialogues to foster a more holistic, humane relationship with technology.

    As algorithms gain more power over our lives, exploring alternative approaches like OS is crucial to safeguarding plurality, autonomy, and human values.

    “Other Spring (OS)”是一个理论向的虚构世界创作项目。这个多元化的项目包括一篇研究论文、一个虚拟世界和一段短片,运用世界构建(World-building)这种独特的创作手段,批判性地剖析计算媒介(computational media)、自动化以及人工智能对社会和文化的深远影响。

    该项目深受中国古代寓言《桃花源记》的启发,探讨了"异端计算"(“heretic computing”,引用媒体理论家亚历山大·R·加洛韦的观点)的可能性,从而挑战我们现今社会对“计算”既定的理解,即追求效率、便利和数据交换。

    OS设定在一个不太遥远的未来,其中,由人工智能驱动的全能网络UNO(Universal-Network Watch)主宰着世界,反映出在我们日益互联的社会中对隐私、自由(代理性)和个体性保护的紧迫性。

    在这个项目的构建中,世界被划分为两个完全不同的部分:UNO,这是一个全视全能的自动化社会,由高级人工智能驱动;以及“Other Spring”(桃源),这是一个受到H.A.Z.E(迷雾)保护的网络。迷雾代表着一个庞大的底层技术结构,由中间件和独特协议构成,体现了一种非传统的算法设计理念。

    在UNO的世界中,迷雾赋予OS保持隐形的能力,使得居民可以保持个体性,异质和文化得以存在,并且可以和谐共存。

    通过结合媒体理论、加密和网络技术,以及与建筑师的合作,该项目成功地将现实和思辨虚构结合起来,对我们对信息社会及其所带来的权力动态的理解进行了挑战。

    计算(算法)对我们生活的影响力越来越大,掌控力度也越来越强,加上数字时代对隐私和个体能动性(agency)的侵蚀,使得这个主题的紧迫性变得明显。

    OS提出了一种独特的方法,将理论、创造性和雾和“留白”概念融合在一起,尝试去展现异端计算和替代算法的巨大潜力。

    该项目强调了不透明、亲密和内在价值在计算设计中的重要性,邀请媒体理论家、艺术家、设计师和视频游戏开发人员一同进行更深入的对话,以促进与技术建立更全面、更人性化的关系。

    World Building

    Architectural Drawing: UNO’s Structure

    Architectural Drawing: UNO’s 3 types of Functional Districts

    UNO’s observational network infrastructural elements

    Hidden village 桃源’s architectural and inner working

    The HAZE oriented technical infrastructure of Hidden village 桃源’s buildings

    Stream the film

    Watch on Vimeo

    墙内观看

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    Credit

    Team

    Directed and Written by zzyw (Zhenzhen Qi and Yang Wang)

    Production Team Credit:

    • Creative Producer: Matthew Doyle
    • Research Architect: Junling Zhuang
    • Worldmaking Architect: Mehrdad Ranjbar
    • UE5 Technical Art Generalist: Cecil Boey
    • Graphic Design / Film Editor: Qinru Zhang
    • Music Composer: Maxwell Sterling

    Consultants:

    • Qifan Pu, Ph.D (Consultancy on Cryptography)
    • Kevin Chen, Ph.D (Consultancy on Cryptography)
    • Hanwen Zhang (Guest Critic)
    • Huiqi He (Consultancy on Cinematography)
    • Yuehao Jiang (Guest Critic)

    Special Thanks

    The project is sponsored by Hyundai Motor’s 5th VH Award and premiered on May 2nd, 2023.

    The artwork is currently on view at HMG Vision Hall (Yongin) and Elektra Virtual Museum (Montreal). It will also be presented at Ars Electronica (Linz) and Museum MACAN (Jakarta), with dates to be announced.






    PROJECT LIST:
    course
    software-system
    speculative-architecture
    • Other Spring
      theory-fiction world-building, 2023
    talk
    video-essay
    video-game
    workshop
    writing