‘Oceanus’ is an installation allowing interactive narration based on a variational scenario and an authoring software tool created by the artist. The idea of the work, on the levels of structure and story, refers to the concept of navigating the sea. Notions such as marking out courses and sea sailing are transposed into the media environment and provide the metaphors that drive the installation. They enable travel across the universe of ‘Oceanus’ and provide a natural co-existence between the linear narration, associated with sequential events, and interactive narration, related to the modifiable structures, altered by choices and generative processes.
The principal metaphor of the work is a nautical chart, and the image the audience sees and controls is inspired by these specific characteristics. The scenario of ‘Oceanus’ is rooted in literature and myths associated with the sea, from Viking sagas to the classic medieval texts, such as the anonymous Navigatio Sancti Brendani, to contemporary maritime literature.
The installation is driven by a software authoring tool, The Map, which is a complex system for the creation and playback of interactive narration. It can build structures and make choices in a manner typical to object-orientated systems (such as Pure-Data or Max/MSP), but it also includes the aspect of temporal dependencies and relations, structuring the narration by the collection of classic narrative figures typical of linear media.
The physical arrangement of the installation consists of a specially designed table with an integrated large-format touch screen, giving free access to the displayed objects and allowing the audience to select and move them. On the second, vertical, screen, visitors can track the linear result of processes, triggered by people manipulating the touch-screen interface, on a single channel video.
Paweł Janicki (born in 1974) creates interactive audiovisual systems, installations and performances, focussing mainly on microsound and algorithmic composition. Janicki, who majored in cultural studies at Wrocław University, works with the WRO Art Center as a curator and the head of R&D and teaches in the Intermedia Department of the Poznań Academy of Fine Arts. In 2004, his Internet musical performance ‘Ping Melody’ was awarded the ‘netarts.org’ grand prize by the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts in Tokyo, and was nominated for an award at the Viper International Film, Video and New Media Festival in Basel.
Janicki is a co-founder and long-time member of the Gameboyzz Orchestra Project, a collective exploring “lo-fi” esthetics, using computer gaming consoles to create audiovisual compositions; their work has been presented at the WRO Media Art Biennale (Wrocław), the Transmediale festival (Berlin), Ars Electronica (Linz) and the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). His new interactive audiovisual installation ‘Mapping Chopin’ was part of the exhibition ‘Where’s Chopin?’ presented in September 2010 at the Warsaw Autumn Contemporary Music Festival and the Dilston Grove gallery in Southwark Park in London.