Meandering River

Over time, landscapes are gradually shaped by natural forces. Indiscernible to the naked eye, we only perceive one moment at a time. The fluctuations and the rhythmic movement of rivers are a glimpse into the past, as traces provide evidence of the constant transformations that surround us.

»Meandering River« is an audiovisual installation comprised of real-time visuals generated by an algorithm and music composed by an A.I. This digital artwork makes change perceivable by creating a unique awareness of time. Spanning over multiple screens, the piece reinterprets the shifting behaviors of rivers by visualizing and sonifying their impact on the surface of the earth.

Research – Making Change visible

Over decades, flowing river structures shift as water erodes the ground, forms a riverbed, and carries soil deposits with it to other locations. The effect of depositing and eroding the landscape changes colour formations depending on the shade and quality of the ground.

By investigating academic and scientific research that examine this natural phenomenon, different algorithms were developed to authentically simulate the unpredictable movements of rivers and reinterpret their organic structures, rhythmic fluctuations and visual materiality.

During the visual research and development process, a bespoke rendering pipeline was created, allowing an iterative visual exploration and composition. Various shaders and algorithms were applied in real-time as graphical layers to simulate natural appearances such as hydraulic and thermal erosion, oxbow lakes and meander scars. Additional post-processing passes like surface materiality, vegetation and lighting enabled the final landscape compositions to reach the visual granularity and quality intended for the work.

The diverse and painterly aesthetic of real satellite images of abstract landscapes served as visual inspiration for the look development of the final piece.

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