This is a video recording of the PANDO ENDO.
PANDO ENDO is a virtual organism simulated in real-time. It is a root system, a plant and an infrastructure. It was developed from phone photographs of aspen tree bark, moss and roots. These photographs were converted into digital textures, programmed to morph together with a procedural system that functions as a root system.
Four drones fitted with spotlights circulate the virtually simulated organism, examining it, zooming-in on its movements. The organism has been tasked to breach virtual glass cabinets and taught to gauge and mobilise towards light sources. Textures crawl across its surface area and liquids trickle along its tentacles like clustered organic entities. Based on this programming, the root system has found its own navigation. It resists being stationed; it spreads and traverses the vast and empty warehouse
The organism takes its first name from the great Pando (Latin, “I spread”), a clonal colony of aspen trees estimated to be 80 000 years of age, resiliently surpassing the age of agriculture and the irreversible transformations of land masses by human interactions. The Pando has 40 000 trunks, weighs 6 million tons and spreads across 106 acres. Every tree is identical in DNA and connected to a single root system. As an organism, the Pando is a slow-moving creature capable of expanding our concepts of the natural, from vast open landscapes to the covert enormity of this individual living entity that is partly obscured underground.
Tasked with replicating a Midwest American forest for an artist collective, I developed the virtual PANDO ENDO after rambling extensively through the forest. In the humid air I came across a wet strong aspen tree, stretching from beneath the wooded floor towards the skies, looking like an alien creature from another planet with its wet bark and stark moss-covered colors.
I explored the clonal colony of aspen trees, which stretched across entire mountain areas. It has surpassed, in its age as a single living being, the entire history of human culture at civilizational scales. To substantiate an organism so enduringly resilient to the modern history of our own species, the Pando Endo’s intersection with the mountain-based artist collective seems like an eyeblink in its timeline. Could future human or ecological infrastructures evolve like the connected organisation of the aspen trees and exist outside current centralized systems?
Jakob Kudsk Steensen is a Danish artist and art director based in New York, specialized in VR and real-time virtual simulations of eco-systems. Through his practice, Steensen is concerned with how imagination, technology and ecology intertwine by developing futuristic virtual simulations of existing real-world landscapes. His work is at the forefront of real-time rendered virtual environments, and he develops projects through collaborations with science, technology and natural science divisions. Steensen also develop work through collaborations with artists from digital media industries, with the aim of bringing diversity in content, and opportunities to experimental developers. As a result, Jakob Kudsk occupies a space in-between art, science and 3D studio production models.
Jakob Kudsk has recently exhibited at Time Square for the Midnight Moment, at Carnegie Museum of Art, The Moving Image Fair, NYC, MAXXI, Museum of Modern Art, WIRED annual conference, FRIEZE in London, Podium in Oslo, Ok Corral in Copenhagen, 86 Project Space, Brooklyn, Sleep Center, China Town and at London Science Museum. As an art director on the VR project TREE VR, made with The Rainforest Alliance and NEW REALITY CO, Steensen’s has shown at Sundance and TriBeCa film festival. His work has been featured in MOUSSE Magazine, on Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, Spike Art Quaterly, ARTREPORT, Politiken, Information, Worm, NEO2, VICE, NY Times, WIRED and TSOEG. He has received awards from the Danish Arts Foundation, The Augustinus Foundation, and Lumen Arts Price. He has been artist in residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, AADK, Centra Negra, MASS MoCA, BRIC and Mana Contemporary. He is currently a 2017-2018 member of NEW INC, a technology and culture incubator by The NEW MUSEUM, in NYC.