Category Archives: Design For Simulation

Design For Simulation – Week 5

Baudrillard views can sometimes be controversial.

Bank Robbery


Baudrillard believes a simulated robbery is more dangerous than the real thing. This is because a real bank robbery justifies having a criminal justice system but a simulated robbery there are no rules and everyone perceives the simulation to different realities. Consequently if we end up in a world where the simulation is as real as the real then the reality falls apart.


Archaeologist Walks into a Cave


Lascaux cave in France are famous for their Paleolithic paintings but the audience does not see the original. What we get to see are the paintings in the Lascaux cave 2. Baudrillard suggests that the danger of simulating something so real is that we do not know if it is real or not and therefore lose our understanding of the real thing. We start believing the simulation and forget there is an original. This hyper-reality can become dangerous if the simulation replaces the real.

We Will Take a Trip to a Theme Park


Baudrillard believes Disneyland portrays the ‘American Dream.’ He considers that inside Disneyland is the real America because it shows a perfect world and outside is the ‘unreal’ America with family break ups, drug use etc. There is no authentic or real America anymore but only a hyper-reality.

Three Orders of Simulacra 

First order: the sign directly represents or reflects a real item.

Second order: the sign is a corruption of reality.

Third order: the sign no longer represents any meaningful reality.


The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (1991)


Another controversial view of Baudrillard. He believed that the Gulf War did not take place because it was conducted using technologies eg drones and therefore the war was clinically constructed and this ‘virtual war’ replaced the ‘total war.’

The Matrix (1999)


This film takes inspiration for Jean Baudrillards ‘Simulacra and Simulation’

My Opinion

Even though realities are being taken over by simulations humans still have the capacity to decide and understand what is real and not. Simulations have a place in education, training and overcoming phobias so even though Baudrillard believes simulations can be dangerous overtaking the reality they can be used for positive experiences as well.


What is a simulation?  

A simulation is a copy of literally anything, which you model to explore various behaviours or show an idea to better understand a system.

Why do we need simulations?

To understand a system, predict data not easily available, understand data that is available, to educate and experience an event or try something new.

The SeaSim 

The National Sea Simulator is a world-leading experimental aquarium facility revolutionising marine science research in Australia. Scientists can research how climate change is effecting the environment and consequently how to save the earth.

Educational Simulations

Simulations can be used to educate and enhance an experience.

Kozma and Johnston (1991) conceptualized seven ways in which instructional technology can support learning:

  • Enabling active engagement in construction of knowledge
  • Making available real-world situations
  • Providing representations in multiple modalities
  • Drilling students on basic concepts to reach mastery
  • Facilitating collaborative activity among students
  • Seeing interconnections among concepts
  • Simulating laboratory work

(Kozma, R.B., and J. Johnston. 1991. “The technological revolution comes to the classroom.” Change 23(1):10-23.)

Science and Environment Simulations

Crown of Thorns Starfish


Coral Bleaching



The warmer air and ocean surface temperatures brought on by climate change impact corals and alter coral reef communities by prompting coral bleaching events and altering ocean chemistry. These impacts affect corals and the many organisms that use coral reefs as habitat.

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My Simulation Research – Great Barrier Reef

Coral Bleaching

In particular for coral, analysis of coral cover data from about 1960 onwards suggests that cover across the GBR has fallen from about 50% in the 1960s to about 16% now. As yet unpublished estimates by Dr Glenn De’ath and his colleagues suggest that if current trends continue coral cover could be as low as 5% in 20 years.

Climate change is driving the record-breaking sea surface temperatures that are bleaching the reef.

Coral reefs are highly vulnerable to a changing climate.

Climate change is driven by the greenhouse gas pollution produced from the burning of coal, oil and gas for energy, land-clearing and some other sources.

What the Future Holds

Annual bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef is expected by 2030, if today’s trends in global warming pollution and rising ocean temperatures continue

Some scientists think the reef in its current diverse form could be largely gone by 2050 if nothing is done.

Scientists predict that a 1.5°C temperature rise will result in 97% of the Great Barrier Reef being bleached.
Higher summer water temperatures are the main cause of bleaching.

Mass bleaching events in 1998, 2002, 2006 and most recently 2016 were caused by unusually warm sea surface temperatures during the summer season. Bleaching  in 2008 and 2011 was caused by an influx of freshwater. 

Mass coral bleaching was not documented in the scientific literature before 1979; however, significant mass bleaching events have since been reported in 1982, 1987, 1992 and the strongest sea surface warming event ever recorded occurred in 1998, where an estimated 46% of corals in the western Indian Ocean were heavily impacted or died. In 2005 sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean were the highest reported in more than 100 years,


It was placed on the World Heritage List in 1981



Populations of the COTs have increased since the 1970s and large outbreaks of starfish can occur wiping out huge tracks of coral reef.

There have been three major periods (“waves”) of COTS outbreaks on the GBR: 1962 – 1976; 1978 – 1991; 1993 – 2005; and it is now accepted that we are at the beginning of the next wave which appears to have started off Cairns in 2009.



Design For Simulation – Week 4

Virtual Reality and Antiquity

Virtual Art from Illusion to Immersion

By Oliver Grau

Virtual reality is not new but it’s place can be traced back in history. Grau describes the transformation of art history from the perception of art and images to interactive art, immersion and the development of images.

With developing technology it is now possible to experience art by ‘entering it,’ though this is more of a perception of the mind and not physical because your geographical location has not changed.

The illusion of space can be seen early on in art history. Trompe-l’oeil was a technique which created an optical illusion using realistic images in 3d. It was also successful in emphasizing a large room or window in a small space with it’s perspective drawing technique, for example, Baroque church ceilings.


The Panorama (1789), Robert Barker, was an early tool for immersion and deception. It was a cylindrical room in which a painting of the city of Edinburgh was placed. Viewed from the centre of the room it tried to deceive the viewer that they were looking at an illusion of reality and not a painting.


The Battle of Borodino (1812) was depicted as a panorama in 1912 to immerse the audience into a 360 degree battlefield experience. Painted by Russian artist Franz Roubaud ,this panorama complete with sound effects was an extremely immersive way to visualize the event.


The Diorama invented by Daguerre (1822) consisted of a mobile construction, which spun around as viewers stood in the middle and watched paintings go round and change without having to move. These paintings of an internal depiction and a landscape would create an illusion of the audience travelling virtually without leaving their geographical location.

Original caption: Photo shows people watching Daguerre's diorama.  Undated illustration. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Original caption: Photo shows people watching Daguerre’s diorama. Undated illustration. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The Mareorama, created by Hugo d’Alesi (1900) was one of the last developments of the panorama before it became redundant. Viewers would stand on a platform representing a ship and experience the illusion of a sea voyage through lighting, sound and the imagery of a storm surrounding them.

Original caption: Photo shows people watching Daguerre's diorama.  Undated illustration. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Original caption: Photo shows people watching Daguerre’s diorama. Undated illustration. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

These early examples of illusions for creating space are an integral part of learning how virtual antiquity developed over the years to create immersive and interactive environments.

Christian Metz, a film French theorist and author of ‘The Imaginary Signifier’ (1982) believed cinema assaults all your senses drawing you into the virtual world. He believes in the ‘all perceiving spectator,’ who is absent from the screen yet always present. The audience can decide as to whether or not to let themselves go into the virtual reality realm of cinema or stay on the outside depending on whether or not they enjoyed the film.

Virtual Reality or Virtuality?

Virtuality exists between two realities. It is a space that exits in our perception but is not really there. For example the email being sent is part of the virtuality.

Firstly virtual is connected with the real using eg screens, gloves controllers. These prothetics add something to our body, which lets us interact in a virtual environment.


Next we have a model of a virtual using an enclosed room where projections take place.

The Legible City (1988), a simulated experience by Jeffrey Shaw







Design For Simulation – Week 3

Simulating Ourselves

Can we simulate ourselves? Physically we can create models of ourselves but only on a superficial level. The question is can we simulate human emotions, intelligence, behaviours and our senses.

The Turing Test

Alan Turing (1912-1952), a computer scientist wrote the Turing test, which would decide if something had artificial intelligence or not. It was to determine whether or not a computer could think like a human brain. The Turing Test is successfully passed if a computer is mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations. He laid the foundations for modern computers and the information technology revolution.

With the development of technology experts have been successful in getting their artificial intelligence to pass the Turing test.

An MIT algorithm has managed to produce sounds able to fool human listeners and beat Turing’s sound test for artificial intelligence.


A computer program called Eugene Goostman, which simulates a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, is said to have passed the Turing test at an event organised by the University of Reading.

New goals are being constantly set to see how far artificial intelligence can be developed not to just pass the Turing test but to pass the very difficult entrance exams of a college in Tokyo and fool the admission staff into thinking the AI is a potential student. Humans and machines are blurring together.


Bladerunner (1982)


A science fiction film ahead for it’s time used the voight-kampff machine test to determine which character was an AI or human.

Ex-Machina (2015)


This film is quite shocking but revealing in how technology is advancing at an incredible speed and without checks and balances the AI’s might even take over the human race one day…. Ava passes the Turing test with flying colours. (where a robot can make others believe it is human)

New Concepts for Artificial Intelligence

Japan’s robot babies raise questions about how parents bond with Artificial Intelligence

A beauty contest was judged by AI and the robots didn’t like dark skin


Anki’s Cozmo robot is the new, adorable face of artificial intelligence



Ideas for My Simulation

Ideas for my simulation

I will follow Aristotle’s thinking in that copying can be used for learning. Plato’s thoughts are quite negative and I believe that without some kind of imitation a lot of learning would be lost. Copying is not just following someone or something but can also be used for inspiration and improvement.

I will use the idea of indexicality in images to indicate a reality.

The idea of the camera obscura will be used to show a simulation of a real time event and its changing form.

Initially I had thought about creating Alexandra’s Lighthouse for my simulation but after this lecture it did not seem to fit the ideas of this module and after more research have decided to simulate the Great Barrier Reef and the effect climate change is having on it.



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Design For Simulation – Week 2

Humans always have a tendency to copy and this includes artistic forms.

“Humans are incessant imitators,” says Prof Lawrence Rosenblum, a psychologist at University of California. (

One of the earliest records of this was in 600 BC when Dibutades, an ancient Greek, modeled a face out of clay from an outline his daughter had made of her lovers shadow on the wall.

Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1785)


This idea was about holding onto reality, which is another human desire. Reality, however is transient, therefore not permanent so we try to create different realities using different technologies.



Plato (427-347 BC), a Greek philosopher believed in the absolute truth, which came from reality. For example he believed a tree was a tree no matter that no two look alike. For him true reality was the perfect form and not a copy of something. A copy of reality is not reality itself, just as all art is a copy. He believed that a copy did not add anything to our perception of reality and that everyone has there own interpretation of reality.

Allegory of the Cave 

This is a story about appearance versus reality told by Plato of a group of men tied up in a cave with their backs to a fire and the entrance of the cave. Shadows are cast by a puppeteer on the wall in front of these men. These shadows are their reality but after one prisoner escapes and loses his apprehensiveness about the outside world he realises that the shadows were only a copy of the reality the puppeteer wanted to show. Once he is released outside the cave he further sees his reflection in the water and realises this is a copy of the reality. His perception of reality changes because he realises the shadows on the cave and his reflection are a copy of reality. When he returns to the cave and explains his reality, the rest of the men think he has gone mad. They have different perceptions of their reality. The shadows on the wall represent the world seen around us, which we assume to be real, but is actually just a imitation of the real. Plato also suggested we are a slave to our senses in that we use our sight to see things that are a copy of reality and hear things to substantiate this. This allegory was also Plato’s way of describing how humans are controlled by others and how we do not necessarily like to experience new things.

Plato believes that art is not part of reality and therefore pointless because it does not add anything to reality.


Aristotle (384-322 BC) believed imitation was a good thing and a natural and normal instinct of human nature. He believed simulations could benefit education, emotions and life in general.


Charles s Pierce developed the term indexicality, therefore communication through signs.

Index Signs-A trace of reality and not a copy.


Optical Technologies-Camera

A photo is a trace of reality because it is an exact copy of the subject and therefore closer to reality than a drawing or painting.

Camera Obscura


A camera obscura was the earliest experience of virtual reality because the resulting image occurred in real time though it was inverted.


Design For Simulation – Week 1

We were introduced to our new module called Design For Simulation. We discussed what is simulation? and what we have to do to complete this project?

Assignment 1: Concept and Prototype Presentation.

We will give a 5 minute presentation of the concept and prototype idea and submit a 400 word project proposal.

Assignment 2: Presentation on the Final Project.

We will make a simulation prototype and present to the tutor and groups. We will do a 10 minute presentation, 1000 word project synopsis and blogs.

 Why produce a simulation?

A simulation can be a safe place to experience something or have new sensations, a place to play or bring alive a historical event or used for escapism.

Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007)


A French philosopher and a cultural analyst. He believed that our realities have been replaced by simulated realities where we often experience things without actually physically going there first. For example before going on holiday we go online and look at the place we want to visit. He believed that the images were copies of the place and not the place itself.

He also believed in ‘the death of the real’ because we are living our lives in hyperreality as we connect more and more to media including television and video games.

How does a simulated environment add value to reality?

Simulation can be used in learning environments in various fields eg, education, medicine, military. The environments can be very realistic that a pilot practicing in a flight simulator or a doctor trialing an operation can do so after a while in the real world because the simulation and the reality seem to merge into one and it seems like the simulation is replacing the reality

‘to simulate is not simply to feign…feigning or dissimulation leaves the reality intact…whereas simulation threatens the difference between ‘true’ and ‘false,’ between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’ (Baudrillard).

What is the relationship between the term representation and simulation?

Simulation is a way to represent something, which imitates the real through movement and can create an extremely immersive environment. The representation is a still image bought to life by the simulation.

For example, a photograph therefore a representation is simply an image of someone or something and except for the image itself it does not show any emotions or behavior. The simulation is the actions of the representation, which incorporate movement and feeling and therefore more convincing.

What does the term simulacra refer to?

“a material image, made as a representation of some deity, person, or thing,” as “something having merely the form or appearance of a certain thing, without possessing its substance or proper qualities,” and as “a mere image, a specious imitation or likeness, of something” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Simulacra are often used to represent images that feel as if they are more real than they are and often deceive us into believing something, which is not quite true.


Photoshopped images of celebrities are a form of simulacra because they do not actually exist in reality. They are perfect images.


Adverts showing that by wearing a certain brand of trainer makes us run faster.

Is there a danger in entering the world of simulacra and hyper-reality?

Hyper reality is where the real and fiction are blended together and the difference cannot be easily distinguished.

Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007), a French philosopher believed that experiences such as entertainment have become so real and intense that we have blurred the lines between the real and simulations. An example he states is Disneyland:

Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation.’

He believes that we don’t understand reality as it actually exists now but realities that are made for us in the media.


‘The very definition of the real has become: that of which it is possible to give an equivalent reproduction…The real is not only what can be reproduced, but that which is always already reproduced: that is the hyperreal…which is entirely in simulation.’



The Truman Show (1998) a film, which tried to show how hyper reality effects the lives of people every day is a good example of how we like to live our lives through watching others and how the audience is manipulated by the media in their ability to understand the difference between what is real or a simulation.

Hyper reality can be dangerous but at the same time simulations can be educational or a form of escapism for a little while.






The Lighthouse of Alexandria – Idea No.1

The Lighthouse of Alexandria



The lighthouse was one of the wonders of the ancient world. It was built in 280 BC and destroyed in 1323 after some earthquakes. At the time it was the tallest man made structure standing at 137m with it’s light being seen up to 35 miles out at sea. Plans have been put forward to the Egyptian government to build a replica near the site of the original lighthouse.