> Exhibition > Desert Mothers

9th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X

Desert Mothers

Aaron Oldenburg


University of Baltimore, USA

Keywords: Meditation, Anchorite, Conscious Environment, Artificial Intelligence, Psychedelics

Desert Mothers screenshot

Desert Mothers screenshot

Multiple screenshots of instances of an early version of Desert Mothers running, demonstrating multiplayer functionality.

Desert Mothers screenshot

2D animation instantiated in the game world as part of the environmental response (from early work-in-progress).

Desert Mothers screenshot

Out-of-body exploration.

This is an exhibition of the work, Desert Mothers, a meditative, multiplayer networked experience. The rationale and iterative process for creating this project are discussed in the article, and the software is made available online for attendees to play during the conference.

In this game, players begin in the same procedurally-generated environment. This begins to diverge for each player as their personal environment, composed of individualized weather and hallucinations, responds emotionally to the player’s actions.

The constraints within which the players interact are discovered during play, and revolve around the body, breath, drawing in the air, and out-of-body exploration of flora, fauna, and abandoned human habitations.

The game has its inspiration in group psychedelic and meditative experiences, such as Ayahuasca ceremonies. There is a slippery relationship between the player and their body as separate from elements in the environment, as they explore the landscape from the perspectives of other flora and fauna.

This can be downloaded and experienced synchronously between remote participants, either using a virtual reality device or a flat screen with a game controller.

Artist Presentation