Imagined Islands

Imagined Islands
Leon Butler
Focused on the unique topology of the changing landscape on Islands and the challenges they face from coastal erosion and climate change.

Leon Butler
Galway, Ireland
Leon Butler is an artist, designer and educator working at the intersection of art and technology.
Field of work
Design, Visual Art, Multimedia, Film, Research
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

Leon Butler is an artist, designer and educator working at the intersection of art and technology. Leon´s work has been recognised by The Type Directors Club, 100 Archive, the Future Makers awards, Digital Media awards, Young Directors Awards and the Irish Design Awards. Recent shows include Emperor 101 (SxSW, Dublin Theatre Festival, Boca Del Lopo, Vancouver), Shelter and Place (Cork Midsummer), Desired (Los Angeles). Has completed residencies with SVA New York, 72andSunny in LA, Adobe, SnapChat and Science Gallery. He has been Research Fellow at University Galway 2016, Designer in Residence in Otis College of Art, Leah Hoffmitz Milken Fellow at ArtCenter College of Design 2022 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 2021. He have exhibited work both nationally and internationally and received a number of commissions and research funding from the Arts Council, European Media Arts platform, Enterprise Ireland, the National Sculpture Factory, the Digital Hub and the Science Gallery. Leon was a Selected Artist of the European Media Arts platform 2022 with RIXC Centre for New Media Culture, Riga. The work, Performance Surveillance premiered at the Biennale WRO, Wrocławin May 2023, before showing at NEME, Cyprus June 2023, and a solo show at RIXC, Center for New Media Art, Latvia from July to September. Leon latest work is Dwelling and XR Dance performance and installation which premiered as part of the Beta Festival Dublin in November 2023.

Imagined Islands is a durational interactive exploration of changing landscapes that uses mapping and machine learning to create new generative large-scale topographic projections. It creates new imagined landscapes that unfold in real-time.

The work seeks to use digital immersion as a catalyst to connect the audience each other as their avatars journey through the generated landscapes. Using machine learning and ai to create a generative animation from aerial footage mixed with projection mapping technology and projected display, Imagined Islands is a dream-world where you discover.

By empowering individuals to move through and effect aspects of the environment, we can create a shared public space for us all to occupy with each other in a lived sense of intimacy and empathy.

The project will use a dataset generated from aerial captures from SENTINEL-2 a European Space Agency satellite which will provide high resolution mapping data of Island of Europe. This dataset will be used to train a machine learning model which will generate new topologies and terrains for use in the project.

It aims to create an interactive experience that invites the public to imagine a new set of landscapes and alternative paths that could have formed.

The work will be a restless panorama, combining animation, machine learning, music, and dreaming.