Blind Pilotage

“Infinitely changeable, full of evanescent marble-patterned gradations, varying in every ripple, the fineness of its composition an everlasting joy to the eye. Let us try and analyze it.” 


From the astronomer Marcel Minnaert’s popular 1940’s text on meteorological optics we find the combination of an intimate description of water with a desire to calculate it. Indeed, Minnaert’s empirical poetics would be cited by Nelson Max as an important technical reference in the creation of Carla’s Island, the first computer-generated animation of water. Calculated by a Cray-1 supercomputer in 1981 at a nuclear weapons research laboratory during the height of anti-nuclear weapons protests, Carla’s Island would influence the representation of liquid in fluid-mechanics, military simulations, cinema, and video games; floating—in its algorithmic attempt at verisimilitude—the promise of a simulated world to inhabit and control.

The exhibition Blind Pilotage was shown at the University of Toronto's Art Museum.

The exhibition catalogue essay was written by Nadim Samman

The exhibition was accompanied by a downloadable game for PC and Mac: The Far Far Splendour.

Dry Dwellers of Eternity (Carla's Island), 2020
3:30 min 16mm film loop with commissioned soundtrack by Mitch Renaud
Dry Dwellers of Eternity (Offshore Operations Simulator), 2020
10:30 min HD Video loop with sound
The Far Splendour of the Yara Birkeland, 2020
Gimballed brass oil lamp holder, servo motors, microcontrollers, recording of the simulated motion of the first autonomous container ship the Yara Birkeland