The Endless Forest
by Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn
June 23 – July 7, 2020

bitforms gallery is proud to present The Endless Forest by Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn as the second work in a series of streaming generative artworks, presented in collaboration with Small Data Industries. The Endless Forest is an online multiplayer game where players interact as deer in a magical forest. There are no specific goals to achieve or rules to follow in the forest—players are encouraged to engage with other deer and explore and find magic in the wilderness. Access to this work has been offered online as a free download since 2005, given that users have a Windows machine and a fast 3D videocard. However, this unique collaboration with Small Data Industries allows viewers to access The Endless Forest in a live format without a Windows machine or downloadable files. In this configuration, the artwork is self-playing—referenced as Deer Observation Mode by the artists—and oscillates between a peacefully sleeping deer to variable glimpses of the lush forest and social interactions with other players (deer). 

Generative art is a performative extension of conceptual art—at its core, a set of rules encoded in software unfold in real-time. This pretense invites a series of chance outcomes that are impossible to predetermine. Generative art can often demand high levels of computational power and even requires dedicated hardware. In such cases, works can only be experienced in-person at galleries or museums. Our collaborators at Small Data Industries have developed a new cloud-based method of exhibiting generative art so that these works can, for the first time ever, be experienced on the web by the general public. This program is the first of its kind to present a series of online works without machine dependency through powerful cloud computing generously provided by Paperspace.