When is Random not Random?

Two replicated physical structures are located nearby in virtual space. A photography studio and a tunnel system. I’ve spent time in one and only ever thought about the other, or seen photographs. Using real-time simulation allows for the possibility that each time the program is open and the simulation run, it will combine differently than the previous occasion. Each time the simulation is played, there is a new performance.

The surface appears much like conventional cinema or digital video with transitions, subtitles and sound. However, the underlying processes are vastly different from linear video. This expansiveness allows space for the viewer to combine and recombine the sequence of images and text – within a given scope – in a way that is not entirely passive. Much like an individual photograph or painting has a receptive state, the non-linear simulation allows for a similar generosity in reading and re-reading.

When I began making these virtual interiors, randomly sequencing cameras and displaying subtitled text in the Unreal Engine, I assumed the process might be accessible, something straightforward. I couldn’t have been more wrong. To make this work requires an understanding of the engine’s visual coding environment, named Blueprints. I am getting some results – however slowly – but accessible or easy it is not.