Unconquered Earth

Frances Yuan Wang
Nicholas Kiray
Menglong Wu

Unconquered Earth is an interactive installation — developed by Frances Yuan Wang, Nicholas Kiray, and Menglong Wu — in which observers personally experience the seismic destruction that our planet is capable of through the interaction of geological data.

The data expresses the earth’s most historically destructive earthquakes in conjunction with its most current earthquakes updated every minute using projection mapping, a natural interface and a three-dimensional globe structure which users will be able to interact with.

Unlike other types of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and thunderstorms, earthquakes are unpredictable, which indefinitely gives humans an unfair disadvantage against the planet’s impending wrath. Human strives to conquer the planet and learn its secrets, however, one secret which humans are incapable of efficiently predicting, are the sporadic and almost whimsical movements of the earth’s tectonic plates. Through the eyes of human, the earth creates an endless struggle — the earth: the giver and taker of life and human: the mortal and “feeling” product of the planet are in a constant dialogue of destruction and recovery, unconquerable and acceptance. Although human is burdened with the feeling of desperation, simultaneously, hope always remains.

In “Unconquered Earth”, a type of balanced and unbalanced looping mechanism is created and applied throughout the entire production. In this sense, viewers embody the role of “human” and through their interactions are the result and recovery of these seismic disasters. The viewer begins the experience using the Leap Motion interface to interact with the three-dimensional globe and the most current earthquakes visualized, encircling the planet.

The viewer then has the opportunity to interact with the earth’s most destructive earthquakes. Augmenting the experience is multi-channel sound processing of news and live event clips of each earthquake as they happened. The duration and intensity of the algorithm in “Unconquered Earth” is dependent upon the destruction the earthquakes are capable of, acting as an emotional metaphor of the earth releasing energy and destroying homes and lives. It is through this concept that we, as humans, experience the constant struggle against a force beyond our control; the endless dialogue between earth and human.

Throughout the installation, viewers will experience the constant destruction and retaliation of human. As “Unconquered Earth” destroys, it will also recover. The piece will gradually recover to its “healed” state, which is symbolic of human recovery. It runs indefinitely in conjunction with a live seismic data feed, in an exchange between the state of destruction and recovery, representing an endless cycle—the complexity of the human-and-nature relationship.