Responses by FACTORY.
Background: Launched in conjunction with the 2021 Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art in Sydney, Australia, the Virtual Nursery is an online exhibition of digital artifacts co-created by plant lovers and their plants from across the world, including locations like Sydney, Perth and Hong Kong. After the artwork was created with participants during workshops titled Hundreds + Thousands (Multi-City): Germination, the Virtual Nursery presents what happens when hundreds of humans and plants come together to commune and collaborate.
Design core: A big design focus was on capturing the beauty that plants brought to people. In our minds, this relationship was embodied by a fantasy zen-like garden that awakes upon user interaction—equal parts psychedelic and calm. We were also heavily influenced by nodes of systemic transitions between natural and man-made states of the environment: for example, the shape of alien-looking plants contrasted against a pile of man-made trash. Hence, as one navigates the site, you will discover plenty of emblematic imagery scattered throughout, sometimes as Easter eggs too.
New lessons: There was an incredible amount of highly interesting digital artifacts contributed by the participants and artists that came from the workshops. This also meant we had to figure out a creative framework that enabled the platform to successfully grow—or germinate—in order to accommodate any type of evolving data, content or topic. In essence, what we were trying to create was a data visualization system that helped to communicate stories through these artifacts. We were overjoyed when we managed to craft an innovative, progressive, data-driven visual language that represented the subject matters with a fantastical nature in a city mish-mash metaverse of sorts.