Species Hotel is an open game lab exploring biodiversity and habitat restoration, a transmedia ecology of many ‘species’ – plant, animal, human, technology. Based in the shopfront of the Wilderness Society for Junction’s Night Light program, the lab seeks to raise awareness around Greening Australia’s Restoration Corridor along the Macquarie river in the Tasmanian Midlands. This larger project supports a biodiversity hotspot where over 300,000 native plants have been established to enhance animal habitat.
Species Hotel is an ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration with students and researchers from the University of Tasmania, through the Schools of Architecture and Design, Creative Arts, Biological Sciences, Information Computing Technology, and the Creative Exchange Institute. Joining the design team are artists from Interweave, and secondary school students from Launceston College, Campbell Town School, and Huonville High School, with further support from Bitlink. Junction Festival 2017 is the first presentation of the game lab as an R&D site for collective experimentation. It is also a primer for four public sculptures to be installed by the river at Ross later this year – the Species Hotels – designed and constructed by UTAS Architecture, Art, and Interior Design students.
The Lab presents a transmedia experience of participatory art and design, incorporating digital interfaces and physical objects, from traditional game platforms to virtual and augmented reality, social media, 3D printing, sculpture, video and performance. Audiences explore a gamified ecology where the interaction of animal species and landscape elements creates a series of ‘flow-on’ effects. These become layered over time to produce an evolving narrative of virtual territories, physical artefacts and embodied movement.
architectural gamification, game design, ecological restoration, Tasmanian Midlands, intermedia performance, festival presentation