Context: GSD: Immersive Landscape
Instructor: Eric de Broche des Combes & Chad Oppenheim
Duration: 10 wks, from 0 in Unity3D
The Garden of Eden is (a) landscape, is a concept, is a mental image, has no rules, permits many different scenarii, has many representations and meanings. Using Unity3D, design and build your own garden of eden on a (suggested) field of 500m x 500m.
It can be retro, ambitious, dramatic, very simple, technological, avant-garde, exuberant, graphic, or very weird. But, it has to be in 3D, whether you choose to be god, Adam, Eve, the snake or the apple...
The Garden of Eden is a loaded theme. While for a large part of the semester I was merely exploring the new and exciting tool Unity3D, and developing an aesthetic for representation, I did not seriously consider the option of directly addressing the topic. I, along with many of my peers, were taking the topic very liberally.
It was not until the final production did it clicked in me that I would like to take the subject - The Garden of Eden - as it was depicted in the Bible, literally. Literally, that is, in my own interpretation.
I attended a Christian school for 11 years of my early life, and have done well in Bible studies, although never a devoted Christian. As I grew older I drifted away from the religion and have developed doubts that kept me at a distance. The fundamental doubt is that the notion of free-will, as most Christians believe we do have it, is in contradiction with the existience of an omniscience being - God.
How, in a small 5-10 minutes game, shall I explore this topic? I reflect upon what free will seem to manifest in my own life. The moments when I make small decisions - to snooze my alarm, check emails before brushing my teeth, do my bed or not - are no less relevant incidents than when adam & eve were choosing to eat an apple or not, for us to meditate on the notion of free-will.
Except, Adam and Eve were trapped into this narative that their eternal peace within this God-prepared garden are destined to their ultimate fall. There simply was no alternative. The Bible could not have been written, Jesus would not have had come, had they not consumed the fruit of the tree of wisdom. They were blamed for having made a poor decision, as they have had their choice, and the temptation to live with for eternity.
Here is a personal meditation on the subject.
Players get to choose to be Adam or Eve at the beginning. But a narative of the Garden of Eden would not be complete without God, would it?
A hidden facet of the game is a server that runs behind the scenes and, creepily, collects the data: position and sight direction of Adam and Eve’s every move. A web interface is designed and constructed to monitor these data, and an extra app is developed to visualize them in a removed axonometric perspective of the Garden.
The potential use of this framework for architectural representation, as well as ‘experiments’ - the ability to observe how the inhabitatns interact with the proposed space and to get their feedback - is worth comtemplating on.