Herbarius "2059" 2009
Collaborator: Jean-Pierre Balpe (writer)
Generative and interactive virtual-reality installation
1 wooden stand, 1 white book, 1 videoprojector, 1 computer, 1 infrared sensor
Software: Cyrille Henry / Antoine Villeret
Technical production: Voxels Productions
Herbarius 2059 is the virtual incarnation of an herbal, whose long tradition dates back to ancient Greece.** Herbarius 2059 retains the form of the codex but mixes the real with the virtual, using projection to present texts and images that are generated in real time: growing fractal flowers and corresponding generative texts are projected side by side onto the twelve-leaved album. Each flower’s seed corresponds to a zodiac sign.
Drawing his inspiration from the historical Herbarius, Miguel has created a new herbal composed of “Fractal Flowers”, virtual and autonomous seeds that germinate randomly, grow, bloom and die, creating a new seed that will evolve in turn. This vegetal world, peopled by mineral-like flowers, is intriguing also for its reminder of the geological world of crystals. Facing each flower is its imaginary description proposed by Jean-Pierre Balpe’s automatic writing generator drawing on scientific texts dating from the 14th century to modern times. Here, fiction is omnipresent; the resulting descriptive texts are infinitely renewed for each reader.
Herbarius 2059 is a hymn to hybridization and for us opens a door to timeless imagination. Its roots link the Herbarius 2059 to tradition, but the technology that it uses reveals its nature as being radically modern. Herbarius 2059 points us towards what could be a twenty-first century bibliophily.
** The Herbarius is an illustrated herbal of Greek origin, inspired by the 1st century A.D. Medical text De materia medica by Dioscorides and composed in Latin in the 4th century by an author known as pseudo-Apuleius Platonicus.