Life Forces 🌿🌸🌾

Rockefeller Center, New York (2021) Barbican Center, London (2022) Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts (2024)

  • Production
  • Duration
  • Real Time 3D, LED Screen x3, iPad x3
  • Infinite Loop

Life Forces was originally commissioned by Rockefeller Center and is currently touring with the Barbican Centre exhibition "Our Time on Earth."

Inspired by the dioramas of natural history museums—glass-covered portals where education and fantasy collide—Life Forces is a digital installation that renders the audience complicit in its creation. Each LED screen features an interactive landscape: a live, infinitely scrolling realm of mossy rocks, twiggy clusters, fungi, trees and flowers. Their forms are generated from 3D scans of plants abounding in US forests, meadows and deserts, paired with 3D sculptured lifeforms by the artists.

Each screen is powered by an iPad Pro, which detects the viewer’s movement using live body tracking technology. Moving with their fictional surroundings, audiences roleplay as pollen and spores, embody feeding slime mold and mushrooms, even dance as swaying rock formations. All around them, pulsing lights show trees communicating via root and mycelium networks.

The site of this installation is no accident. Over a century before it was the Rockefeller Center, it hosted the Elgin Botanic Gardens, America’s first publicly accessible botanic garden. (At one point, the 20-acre expanse contained 2,000 labeled species of indigenous and exotic plants.) Today, New York is denser—all concrete and metal—but we remain connected to nature, even if we can’t see it.

Life Forces is Tin&Ed’s urgent, joyful reminder of the interconnectedness of every living thing, and the fragile, complex bonds linking our every action to natural systems, like a network of invisible veins.

Rockefeller Center, New York

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Tin Nguyen & Edward Cutting are Australian artists and creative technologists based in New York. They create playful installations and experiences that illuminate the borderless dimension between art and science, the physical and the digital, the human and the more than human.

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