This article introduces two compelling recent updates to ongoing projects by digital art and design studio Universal Everything.
The Emergence project, first exhibited in 2019, is now available to download as a VR art experience. The behaviour of a digitally simulated crowd visualises the behavioural patterns people demonstrate in groups; when the viewer puts on a headset they become a single avatar in the crowd. The viewer can control the behaviour of their avatar, which in turn influences the actions of the crowd.
Emergence has previously been exhibited at Sundance Film Festival, Sónar+D, Center Phi, Haifa International Film Festival, Geneva International Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, LEV Matadero and Arles VR Festival, and was part of Universal Everything’s solo show Fluid Bodies at Borusan Contemporary. Universal Everything have now launched the project on Steam VR - from August 2020 the work is compatible with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index headsets.
Also this year, Universal Everything have completely reworked their 2011 piece Transfiguration. The reworking uses the latest procedural visual effects software to bring a classic artwork by the studio into a new decade. Thanks to the technologies available today, Universal Everything’s celebrated walking figure, whose material composition morphs throughout the video from stone to smoke to fur to bubbles, is rendered in staggering and intricate detail. Transfiguration (2020) features animation by Chris Perry and a new foley-based soundtrack by Simon Pyke.