The invitation to create an immersive simulation was derived from the partnership between Itaú Cultural and the HLRS-High Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart in the middle of 2016. In technical terms, the challenge involved in the invitation was to go beyond possibilities with the resources extended by this international center of excellence in scientific research involving high technology. In artistic terms, the challenge was to propose an invention that could dare more, aided by these resources, in a work that should, above all, be a reflexive and poetic experience.
Long imagined and meticulously composed together with diverse minds, sensibilities and competences - a common circumstance to works of this nature - the proposed virtuality is Odyssey, developed in terms of close technical-creative collaboration with Itaú Cultural.
Odyssey proposes a journey without return, set in daytime sky, open and infinite, where a large cube operates as a transparent spaceship. With inputs and outputs on each face and an alternating availability of paths, Odyssey aims to be the experience of a passage - physical and at the same time subjective - through the interior of a vitreous and labyrinthine space, where it is possible to walk without gravity towards the possible exits of the cube / nave.
From the earliest sketches and 3D models, designed to investigate the possibilities of virtually traversing labyrinthic hypercubes, to the narrative the work now proposes, the technical design gradually showed the need to use the processing power provided by the connection with Stuttgart. The definition of the labyrinths, their location and size, a choice of aesthetic nature, was in charge of genetic algorithms run on the HLRS Cray XC-40 supercomputer. In Odyssey, the application of these algorithms to the possibilities of a narrative that constantly changes the accesses and corridors of the cube / nave, responds by characteristics that are in themselves queries about the conscience and autonomous decisions of the computers.
The condition of not being able to return to the spaces already covered is caused by the participants themselves, whose steps unmistakably crush, break and smash the transparent surfaces that subdivide the interior spaces of the labyrinths, in search of an exit that will take them back to the sky, always interviewed through the quadricula that cover everything.
There will be no alternative but to go forward, for to go back will be to remain suspended restlessly inside the large transparent and empty enclosure, where only fragments of broken corridors remain. The game is simple but difficult: to enter the sky, to cross the labyrinth and to leave it to the sky ...
Regina Silveira, 2017