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Matthew Barney – Cosmic Hunt

By Simon Rogers

A digital companion to artist Matthew Barney’s recent Cosmic Hunt project

A route object from array of routes on the map document

About the project

A digital companion to artist Matthew Barney’s recent Cosmic Hunt works, this website presented an opportunity to create an “exploratory” experience, indebted to the mouse-based navigational style familiar from games of yore like Age of Empires.

The website plots various artworks, films and images across a map, arranged as “checkpoints“ along separate routes which all converge upon the centre. “Route” documents allow the grouping of different items along a specific trajectory (stored in degrees) and to define a direction of travel (East or West). This data is used to define the website’s routing and position slideshow arrows in the actual direction of travel referenced on the map.

I’m sure a lot can be done to optimise the experience! But I was happy that I have structured the site in a way that allows users to tab through the routes on the map in a logical order – a small victory for accessibility in what is otherwise a challenging context!

As the ideas were fairly concrete in form, the design-process was all done in-browser – Sanity enabled an easy relationship with the source data, as I was able to reconfigure and puzzle through things on the fly. Unlike working on a shop or a traditional portfolio website, there were no precedents for this sort of project structure. The realisation that the map routes could be handled elegantly in Sanity was quite a last-minute breakthrough.


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