The CBTSA is a science fiction autobiography that recounts the story of the last five years of my life. Several elements are combined to tell this story, and several media, from written narrative and physical computing to large scale community interaction and web art.
It is the story about being lost in life, and about finding ways to come back from a difficult loss. I tell the story from the point of view of an explorer marooned in a hostile place, confused by his surroundings but dedicated to carving out a place for himself despite the challenges.
The structure of the story is based on four main elements: EarthBase 1, is the mobile research station build to protect the explorer as he recouperates, and to be the headquarters of his research after his rehabilitation. Chief Willy Underfoot is the rescue beacon built out of the wreckage of his ill-fated craft, that he uses to contact the past in hopes of rescue. Red Toby and Scarlet O'Hara are the Exploratory Earth Rovers that he builds to explore the planet beyond his own reach, and the Hunter Gatherer mission is a mission to map his connection to the communities of Earth, and hopefully help him find a secure place within them.
EarthBase 1 is a custom made nylon tent designed to evoke a scientific research station. It is the home of all other CBTSA elements, including the Earth Rovers, though they may from time to time be wandering the earth on mission.
Chief Willy Underfoot is a converted Weber Grill, equipped with a GPS, Microcontroller and Webserver that allows it to serve its location to the web. The web page served displays the latitude and longitude of the beacon, and entreats viewers to visit the CBTSA at that location.
Red Toby and Scarlet O'Hara are inflatable red spherical rovers one large, one smaller, equipped with several sensors that are accessible by GSM technology. Curious explorers or visitors to EarthBase 1 can retrieve images from the rovers using their cellphones.
The Hunter Gatherer Mission is an ongoing series of expeditions in which we have deployed a fleet of Exploratory Rovers into the environment surrounding EarthBase 1 to gather physical samples and photographs from the indigenous population. Each HG Rover is piloted by close friends and relations of the CBTSA into their respective communities. These pilots collect samples from their own friends and acquaintances and return them to the CBTSA. To date, more than ten missions have been launched from our facilities at EarthBase 1, yielding more than 200 samples. By this method we can create a detailed image of the societies and cultures within our reach.
All of these elements woven together tell the story of someone who has lost his way, but has not given in to despair. It is intended to explore ideas of perception, about constructing realities that support our own desires and expectations rather than allowing ourselves to be constrained by constructs designed to benefit others.
Our experience in life is our own to create, and our ability to do so is limited only by our will and imagination.