Boreal Oasis

For a Burlington 2021 New Year's Eve event, I collaborated with Vanishworks to create an interactive installation — the Boreal Oasis.


In the late nineteenth century prospectors returned from the boreal forests of British Columbia with tales of wintering in a tropical valley heated by numerous hot springs, with giant plants and strange animals. The legend was enough to attract botanist Mary Gibson Henry to launch an expedition there in the 1930s. She found nothing on the scale that had been described, but discovered crystal clear hot springs and unexpected vegetation, collecting hundreds of species of plants in the process.


The installation combined footage of the Henry expedition with projections of imagined plant species from the valley of legend, procedurally generated in real-time. I used L-systems in TouchDesigner to design and generate the plants, adding interactivity with the Leap Motion.


Check out this tutorial video to learn more about L-Systems and download the free TouchDesigner component I used to create this project (also embedded below).

A video showing all five plants I designed for the installation.

An edit of footage taken on the night of the public installation.


Interaction using the Leap Motion sensor.

A tutorial about L-Systems that includes a free TouchDesigner component.