boredomresearch: Ornamental Bug Garden 001

  • ©2005, boredomresearch, Ornamental Bug Garden 001
  • ©2005, boredomresearch, Ornamental Bug Garden 001



Ornamental Bug Garden 001


SIGGRAPH 2005: Threading Time

Creation Year:





21 inches x 21 inches


Interactive & Monitor-Based

Artist Statement:

Vicky Isley and Paul Smith have been collaborating as boredomresearch for four years. boredomresearch are interested in building computational works inspired by simple rules found in natural systems. They are interested in a range of topics that include the aesthetics of emergence, synthesised ecological systems, networked communities, perceptive cognition of computational abstractions, A-life, and belief systems. Currently, they are exploring processes of computer modeling for creation of new and interesting observable phenomena, and investigating the creative potential of genetic algorithms and notions of ownership of digital space. “The research of Smith and Isley is far from a bore. What they suggest is instead a play strategy in relation to computers, a sensual experiencing of potentials that develop over time. Furthermore, in their refusal to accept prefabricated images of computation, their work offers a critical perspective and a possibility to rethink virtual space outside the restrictions of rational organisation and simple representation.” Anna Kindvall and Lars Gustav Midboe, Electrohype boredomresearch have produced a number of interactive sound applications, online projects, and computational soundscapes that have been shown at events such as FILE04 in Brazil, the Electrohype festival in Sweden, the Garage festival in Germany, Data:base in Dublin, and in online exhibitions such as,, and Since 2001, they have produced several computational soundscapes utilising artificial-life algorithms that have been mainly projected within galleries and festivals. boredomresearch are interested in developing the relationship between the work and the viewer. Ornamental Bug Garden 001 ‘s viewable area is sealed within a small glass front, which creates an intimate portal that the audience can peer into. The computer is also incorporated into the object, becoming part of the work. In this way, the work is built around the idea of closed systems like the commercially available biospheres that contain a small population of brine shrimp. These systems are the result of research conducted by NASA into closed viable systems and are sold as gifts all around the world. Ornamental Bug Garden 001 is the first of a series of wall-hanging, digital, self-contained systems built by boredomresearch in 2004. This system combines gaming techniques and artificial-life modelling to explore relationships between scientific modelling techniques and ornamental gardens. The individual elements of OBG001 have been generated algorithmically using software created by boredomresearch, before being carefully composed in their final form. In building the garden, boredomresearch become the designers of closed ecosystems. In addition to considering the shape, colour and form of the elements used within the garden, they consider their effect on the overall ecology of the system. The complexities of the overall sound composition are the result of emergence within the system. As OBG001 ‘s colonies of objects catapult around a garden containing bubble-pumping lifts and algorithmically composed plant life, collisions with its elements trigger sounds and compose an incidental audio piece. OBG001 has been awarded honorary mention in Transmediale.05; the International Media Arts Festival, Berlin; and VIDA 7.0, International A-Life Electronic Arts Competition, Madrid 2004.