HOME               PROJECTS               ABOUT              NEWS
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Creative Direction - Robin Rawstorne
Software Coding - Robert Hodgin
Creative Direction & Technical Producer - Oliver Jean
Sound Scape - Harmonic Studios
‘Theatre Space’ Construction - Cutting Innovations

‘Boil-Up’ is a groundbreaking AI exhibit, developed for Auckland Museums’ ‘Moana - My Ocean’ exhibition. A ‘boil-up’ occurs when baitfish swarm in a tightly packed spherical form in a bid to escape large predatory fish, mammals and birds. It is a last-ditch defensive measure adopted by bait fish when they are threatened.

Rawstorne studio was given the brief to create a filmic, experiential installation depicting this phenomenon, the focus needed to be on the physical drama, the diversity and interconnectedness of marine life taking part.

Our creative team became entranced by the way the ‘boil-up’ “organism” appeared to behave as a single entity moving and flowing like “mercury”, and how outside influences affected it’s behaviour. We felt this was the perfect project to explore AI (the creation of intelligent computer generated entities that are able to perform tasks, which normally require biological intelligence or systems). We teamed up with the highly innovative coder Robert Hodgin whose work in this field fitted perfectly with the brief.

Working alongside the Marine Biology team at the museum we were able to create 7000 virtual bait and predator fish whose behaviour mirrored their natural state within our virtual sea. Each species responding in sentient like fashion to a clear set of existence algorithms set by the code.


We were able to further calibrate the behaviour of each species within the code, customizing in detail swimming behaviour, schooling patterns, hunting techniques and in the case of the dolphins create an algorithm that ensured they worked together as a team encircling the bait fish and driving them upwards towards the surface. To capture this extraordinary ‘real time’ environment we were able to position virtual cameras within the AI world, which observed the unfolding ‘boil-up’ maelstrom. Our only “influence” was to time release each predator species building the intensity and excitement of a ‘boil-up’. The coding was so solid it allowed for us to create photo realistic fish that behaved exactly as their “real world” counterparts, creating a fully functioning AI system.

We delivered this experience within a 6 metre custom designed circular ‘theatre’ space housing a 270º screen and 4 projectors.
The viewer never experiences the same natural phenomena twice – remaining true to the ‘real life’ ‘boil-up’ feeding frenzy.

STUDIO@RAWSTORNESTUDIO.COM               +64 (0) 21 142 9452               INSTAGRAM