Chikyuchi is a virtual pet device inside an installation. Its goal is to highlight the human value of “caring,” using the mass-appeal of a device inspired by the Tamagotchi to affect climate change on the human level rather than the physical.

Chikyuchi provokes audiences to care for a physically embodied, retired and re-imagined device avatar representing the Amazon forest. The character’s health is connected to the state of the actual Amazon rainforest. This is done through a connection with API data telling the total surface area of the Amazon rainforest. Chikyuchi is in bad health due to deforestation. Although users are able to temporarily cheer up the Chikyuchis with thematically related food and games, increasing their mood status, it doesn’t affect their critical health status. It can only recover if the actual Amazon rainforest recovers. The Chikyuchis also periodically speak based on text generated using the transformer language model GPT-2 fine-tuned on tweets related to deforestation and global warming over a 3 day period.

The Chikyuchi ‘Fossils’ symbolize natural areas that have already been destroyed beyond a point of no return due to human activity. It uses visual language associated with the mourning and honouring of natural deities and ancestors.

Looking back to how anthropomorphic deities representing nature in humanoid forms was a way that enabled people to empathise and coexist with nature, Chikyuchi speculatively contemplates how to similarly use anthropomorphism in our current society for the same outcome. At the same time it criticizes the way we have been brought up in an environment that promotes building affective relationships with inanimate consumer products like Tamagotchi, whilst failing to promote empathic bonds with nature. Additionally, it criticises the disparity between the influence that consumers have on deforestation and climate change vs the influence of economic and political decision making.

Artists: Vincent Ruijters & Ray LC
Electronics & Code v.2: JDT Engineering
Sound & Code v1: Kasin Fong

Project instagram:

Upcoming Exhibition
2022 ‘1.5 Celsius’ Science Gallery at MSU Museum, USA

Participated Exhibitions
2022 ‘TEI 2022 : International Conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction’, Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology, Daejeon, KOR (Online)
2022  Data Art for Climate Action, Singing Waves Gallery, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, HK
2021 ‘SDGs x ARTs’, The University Museum Tokyo Univ. of the Arts, Tokyo, JP
2021  ‘Mimicry of Hollows’, The 5th Floor, Tokyo, JP
2021   Constructing Contexts: Art Machines 2 Art Gallery, Singing Waves Gallery, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, HK

2022 Creative Industry Fund, Digital Culture Grant, NL
2022 Netherlands-America Fund, Cultural Grant, NL
2021 Contribution, Embassy of The Netherlands in Japan, NL
2021 Geidai I Love U Grant, JP

2022 Panel Discussion ‘Art and Performance’, TEI 2022 : International Conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction, Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology, Dae jeon, KOR

2022 LC, RAY, and Vincent Ruijters. “CHIKYUCHI: In-Person/Remote Game   Exhibition for Climate Change Influence.” Sixteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, Association for Computing Machinery, 2022,
2021 Ruijters, V., & LC, R. (2021). Chikyuchi. In Art Machines 2: International Symposium on Machine Learning and Art 2021 Proceedings (pp.269–269). Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong; School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
2021 (2021) Chikyuchi [Exhibition catalogue]. Exhibited at The University Museum Tokyo University of the Arts June 22 – August 31 2021.
“Interactive Storytelling” Climate Influence: Implicit Game-Based Interactive Storytelling for Climate Action Purpose, Springer 2021/12/07


© 2023 Vincent Ruijters All Rights Reserved.  
︎   ︎  ︎   ︎