Nature of Code – Simulation Project

The Web Fire Bird
The Story of the Fire Bird

The Fire Bird is a mythology that I started creating during my first semester at ITP, firstly, as a a physical computing project. Now I’m creating a net-art version of the narrative. The story of the Fire Bird is divided in three base movements:

1 – The Fire Bird flies away from home because their house was put on fire by someone who couldn’t understand the way the Fire Bird was living;

2- The Fire Bird flies to the city, alone, carrying a fire seed inside their belly and finds a place to sleep;

3- The Fire Bird dreams for so long, that the invisible seed that was inside of their belly grows and turns into a tree.

For this sketch, I’m focusing on the part of the narrative in which they fly away from home to the city.

References

The story of the Fire Bird is based mainly on the environmental disasters caused by fires in the Amazon Rainforest in 2019 with the aim of keeping its memory and constantly question all the actions that lead the grown of the fires in that year, such as the considerable growth of deforestation. I’m interested here in how other species are affected by human culture and it’s catastrophes during the Anthropocene.

This work is also strongly influenced by things I learned working together with indigenous communities in Brazil. Especially the philosophy of the indigenous Guarani People, which tells that words have soul. That’s why their word for “throat” is ahy’o, but also ñe’e raity, which literally means “nest of the word-soul”. These indigenous people are mostly based in the southeast region of Brazil and some areas in Paraguay and are constantly struggling to preserve their culture and the territory they have left.

Based on the Guarani idea of the throat as a nest for words-soul, the Brazilian psychoanalyst and philosopher Suely Rolnik, which whom I had classes in the past, describes a “familiar-strange” body-mind state in which we find ourselves sometimes in life, especially when we are about to germinate a seed of a “new world” a “world-to-come”, after untieing the knots that we carry in our nest-throats. She explains how the creation of these new worlds has its own time and how the nests need to be taken care of while the colonial-capitalistic system tries to kill this process.

Screenshot of the net art work

I’m understanding that the Web Fire Bird is a simulation of this concept and psychological state as well, as a visual poem or a digital metaphor. After being affected by a colonial trauma, the bird flies away from home carrying the seed of new worlds in their throat. That’s why their landscape is composed of words that are constantly changing their combination in order to tell their own story. The landscape is under transformation and construction, as the course of a river, trying to stay alive while organizing itself constantly in search of a configuration – or a place to germinate.

Code

Find the p5.js sketch editable here and the present mode here.

The code was created based on examples by Daniel Shiffman in the context of the Nature of Code classes and with his help during office hours. I basically mixed and worked changing details and on the design of three examples: “The Vehicles class” seeking a target, “Particle Systems” with gravity applied to it and “Flow Fields” (changing every time the mouse is clicked).

Result

The result is my first net art piece! : ) It is an interactive generative poem.

During its process of creation, I was invited by the curator Guilherme Brandão to be part of the online residency Jururu Club, which is one of the Brazilian pavilions of the fourth edition of The Wrong Biennale – “a global online & offline event aiming to nurture digital culture by engaging with a vast selection of curated artworks”.

For Jururu Club, I created a Portuguese version of it.

Thanks for Dan for all the help and Gabriel for giving me a web-space to share my work : )

For future versions of this work, I plan to enrich the interactions and walk towards a more gaming atmosphere.

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