In Morphogenesis, Can Buyukberber and Yagmur Uyanik, two independent artists and Fulbright scholars based in San Francisco, use virtual reality to take viewers on an otherworldly odyssey through the digital and physical universes. Morphogenesis derives from the Greek words morphê, ‘shape’, and genesis, ‘creation’, and taken together, literally means the beginning of the shape.

The audiovisual experience is inspired by the natural phenomenon of emergence. In nature, emergence is the phenomenon where randomness can give rise to deeply beautiful patterns and structures – like the complex growth of water crystals on glass, or the ripple patterns on a sand dune drawn by the wind.

Signal Festival Prague, Czech Republic. Photo by Jan Knot.

Buyukberber and Uyanik use these geometric patterns as the fundamental building blocks of their immersive spaces. The artists have traveled with Morphogenesis to art and technology festivals around the world, and the flexible nature of the exhibit lends itself to a diverse variety of display formats and spatial settings like projection mapped prints, VR and fulldome video technology.

A still from Morphogenesis visual content.

The experience itself can be likened to what you see when you squeeze your eyes tightly shut, which creates a series of evolving patterns behind your eyelids – or like the screensaver from your 1990s-era PC on steroids.

Special 8K screening at MUSE Event Series, The Village, San Francisco.

In creating Morphogenesis, the artists used sciences like geomorphology and mathematics to explore concepts of motion and space, immersion and invisibility, myths and symbolic expressions, and the future of human perception.

The designers leveraged the cutting-edge capabilities of virtual reality to create a new vocabulary for the audial and visual senses. The result is an experience which invites audience members to be active participants in a poetic world full of sensations, where space is infinite and man-made processes of creation are re-evaluated. 


Title photo by Sebastien Roy