Babelswarm was a mixed reality, real-time, interactive, audiovisual artwork built in Second Life and in real life at the Lismore Regional Gallery, Australia, by Adam Nash (aka Adam Ramona), Christopher Dodds and Justin Clemens in 2008.
Visit the official BabelSwarm website at babelswarm.net for full details and documentation.
The work was produced as the inaugural Australia Council Second Life Artist in Residence Award.
The installation is based on the story of The Tower of Babel – a mythical tale of humanity's desire to reach the heavens. Babelswarm is contained within an entire sim, where visitor chat is captured, stored in a database on the internet and fed into an inworld 'meta-babeller'. This babeller spills these words from the sky in strings of audiovisual letterforms. The words shatter on their descent and, once settled, the letterforms begin to swarm in random directions seeking out other letters in order to reconstruct the word they were born in. If they find a partner they bond and help create the tower's structure. Eventually each letter will sleep, but can be re-awoken or destroyed by touch. It is an exploration of emergent bahaviour and swarm theory. The tower evolves through the interactions of participants, whose words are its nourishment and will be forever archived in the babeller's memory.