SWAMP: Tardigotchi




 
  • ©2012, SWAMP, Tardigotchi
  • ©2012, SWAMP, Tardigotchi
  • ©2012, SWAMP, Tardigotchi

Artist(s):


Title:


Tardigotchi

Exhibition:


SIGGRAPH 2012: In Search of the Miraculous

Creation Year:


2012

Medium:


Brass, electronics

Category:


Interactive & Monitor-Based

Artist Statement:


This portable sphere playfully references the famous Tamagotchi toy from the 1990s that provoked the artists to ask questions such as: Does simple interaction engender emotional attachment? Can feelings of affection blossom from the ritual of assisting the persistence of a pattern? Does biological life make a difference? A Tardigotchi owner cares for a real and a virtual creature simultaneously. By pushing a button, the virtual pet is fed, this in turn will feed the tardigrade. An owner may also attend to the Tardigotchi online through a social web presence. Sending an email to the virtual character triggers a heating lamp, relaying a momentary signal of warmth to the tardigrade, while prompting the pixilated tardigrade to recline and soak up animated sunrays. Tardigotchi applies a salve to our yearnings for care and nurture through a unique design that symbiotically merges biological and artificial life within a single interface/enclosure. It also serves as a reminder of the special inclination humans have to commune with other animals, perhaps equally with artificial ones. Humans, along with the inhabitants of Tardigotchi, and every other living being, are neighbors subsisting on an incredibly precarious life-sphere known as Earth.

Technical Information:


Tardigotchi is an artwork featuring two pets: a living organism and an alife avatar. These two disparate beings find themselves the unlikely denizens of a portable computing enclosure. The main body for this enclosure is a brass sphere, housing the avatar in an LED screen and a
tardigrade within a prepared slide. A tardigrade is a common microorganism measuring half a millimeter in length. The avatar is a caricature of this tardigrade; the avatar’s behavior is partially autonomous, but it also reflects a considerable amount of expression directly from
the tardigrade’s activities.