Dezeen Magazine

The Golden Age: the Simulation by Paul Nicholls

This film by Paul Nicholls of architectural imagery studio Factory Fifteen was awarded best film at the CG Architectural 3D Awards 2011 in the architectural film/animation category.

Called The Simulation, it's the first movie in a two-part series called The Golden Age.

The Golden Age: the Simulation by Paul Nicholls

Nicholls made the series while studying at the Bartlett School of Architecture alongside his colleague Kibwe Tavares, author of the Robots of Brixton movie we published earlier this week.

Here's some information from Paul Nicholls:

The Simulation

THE GOLDEN AGE is a film which speculates on artificial intelligence within a simulated architecture. It is concerned with technology, synthetic programmed spaces, and the temporality of our immediate conceived environment, physical or otherwise.

It is part of a wider project which looks at a ‘downloaded’ architecture, radically changing the consumerist lifestyle we are all used to.

The spaces in ‘The Simulation’ here are ‘constructed’ and ‘filmed’ in the synthetic digital space which becomes the site of limitless exploration. The film uses the book “The Diamond age” by Neil Stevenson, (in which the entire world has been consumed by nano technology), as a building point to more scientific and technological research into the current advancements and theories towards molecular nanotechnology, in particular ‘FOGLETS’ which are swarms of nanorobots that can take the shape of virtually anything.

“Imagine a microscopic robot. It has a body about the size of a human cell and 12 arms sticking out in all directions. A bucketfull of such robots might form a ‘robot crystal’ by linking their arms up into a lattice structure. Now take a room, with people, furniture, and other objects in it — it’s still mostly empty air. Fill the air completely full of robots. The robots are called Foglets and the substance they form is Utility Fog, when a number of utility foglets hold hands with their neighbors, they form a reconfigurable array of ‘smart matter.’” Dr. J. Storrs Hall Research Fellow of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing.

The film questions what such a jump towards the technological singularity with such technologies would mean to the way in which we interact with our physical environment in the most fundamental of ways, even though it itself is based in the synthetic simulated space, where artificial intelligence is most likely to occur first.

The lines between the limitless model space and the physical space becomes blurred. The title “The Golden Age” denotes a period of primordial peace, harmony, stability and prosperity and is taken from Greek mythology which refers to the first age of man.

“The Simulation” is part one of two films and a thesis which explore such concepts, all under the main title The Golden Age.