It is 1895. A new scientific/biological movement, called Darwinism, is replacing industrial machines with extraordinary creatures called Fabricants. Great Britain, the cradle of Darwinism, has developed the most impressive Fabricant yet: a 1,000 foot flying whale airship, on its maiden voyage from London to Moscow, known as The Leviathan…

“A Mixed Reality Experience”

Presented in Collaboration with:

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UNity

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Behind the Scenes

Learn more about the making of the Leviathan Project

Behind the Scenes

For Sundance 2016, the World Building Media Lab, Unity, Intel RealSense, and 5D Global Studio joined forces in Leviathan to envision the future of immersive storytelling beyond the screen. Silverdraft and Optitrack provided hardware support.

Behind the Scenes

Leviathan is a perfect vehicle for exploring emergent media. It’s not only a flying whale, but also a fantastic metaphor for an ecosystem that contains all the elements of storytelling in a single worldspace.”
— Alex McDowell, Creative Director

Behind the Scenes

With roots at USC’s World Building Media Lab, Leviathan rapidly evolved into many iterations and experiences through the collaborative work of students, artists, engineers, and Intel.

Behind the Scenes

“In the newest iteration of Leviathan, users are participants in the outcome. No longer are stories fixed, they are changed by the actions of each user.”
— Alex McDowell, Creative Director

Behind the Scenes

In AR, the whale flies through a user’s tablet screen and releases Huxleys, playful jellyfish-like creatures that users can interact with via Intel RealSense. A user can also fly up to the whale and enter its lab which is populated by Unity-driven characters.

Behind the Scenes

The VR story takes place in the Leviathan’s lab where British scientists create, test, and study fabricated beasts. Designed to be emotionally engaging and to exploit VR’s full capability, the story lets users create their own fabricated creatures.

Behind the Scenes

Leviathan is one of the most innovative storytelling platforms to date. Using Unity, the Leviathan creators developed an immersive, layered experience with incredible depth. We are proud to be part of this groundbreaking project."
— Clive Downie, CMO of Unity Technologies

Menagerie of Fabricants

A selection of Fabricants aboard the Leviathan

Menagerie of Fabricants

Leviathan (Balaenoptera Musculus)

The Leviathan is a hybrid of a Great Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, and Royal Albatross. These Life Threads account for her incredible size, pronounced blowhole capabilities, and successful flying capabilities: light bone density and large lateral fins. As all the humans and Fabricants aboard the Leviathan depend on her for their safety, her wellbeing and care is of utmost importance.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Huxley (Chrysaora Colorata)

A Huxley is a hybrid of Jellyfish, Octopus, and Electric Eel. This combination gives the Huxley a malleable and lightweight body, tentacles, high intelligence, and the ability to store and channel electricity. Since Huxleys play a prominent role in the Fabricant creation process, they are treated as the premiere Fabricant in the Lab.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Messenger Lizard (Podarcis Muralis)

Due to their modified vocal cords, Messenger Lizards are capable of emulating human speech. Traveling through the Leviathan ship via a network of tubes, Messenger Lizards can be given a message by dictation and relay it to other parts of the ship, thus allowing crew and officers to communicate quickly.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Fetcher Monkey (Cebus Capucinus)

The Fetcher Monkey is a highly useful helper at the Lab, genetically fashioned from a Capuchin monkey and a spider. The Fetcher Monkey’s extra set of arms allow it to hold beakers, open doors, deliver equipment, and more. Impish and playful, this Fabricant frequently attempts to interact with people at the Lab.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Tesla Spider (Anelosimus Crassipes)

Named after electrical engineer Nikola Tesla from Serbia, the Tesla Spider arose from efforts by the Darwinists to stay at the forefront of both electrophysics and arthropod fabrication. Bioelectric creatures, Tesla Spiders weave conductive webs and generate large electric currents by way of a highly specialized nervous system.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Puffer Lantern (Tetraodontidae Tetraodontiformes)

Modified pufferfish that have been given the ability to breathe above water and generate “lighter than air” gas, Puffer Lanterns serve as mobile, easily deployed bioluminescent light sources. Scientists and crew members use them when navigating different areas of the Leviathan.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Aero Fireflies (Lampyridae Formicidae)

Aero Fireflies are bioluminescent beetles genetically combined with ants. The Fireflies navigate by using an impressive range of cues such as polarized light patterns, visual panoramas, ground texture, and step counting. Currently, one swarm has been trained to act as a light indication system in assisting the Fabrication process aboard the Leviathan.

Menagerie of Fabricants

Sniffer Beagle (Canis Lupus Familiaris)

Since the Leviathan relies on hydrogen gas for flight, the ability to detect gas leaks is essential for safe airborne operation. For this reason, Sniffer Beagles are an invaluable and stunningly efficient Fabricant. They possess two heads, two noses, and extra hind legs, enabling expert abilities in climbing and gas detection, which ensures the safety of all aboard.

Premiere Boffins on the Leviathan

Profiles of esteemed scientists aboard the Leviathan

Premiere Boffins on the Leviathan

Stephen Darlington

50, head scientist and Darwin's protégé. Although churlish and eccentric, Darlington is unquestionably a genius and pioneer in the field of Fabricants. Currently, Darlington oversees operations of Her Majesty’s Fabricant laboratories and acts as the primary interface between Great Britain’s scientists and military.

Maps of the Leviathan

Drawings and diagrams of the Leviathan

Notable Historical Events

19th century moments charting the rise of Darwinism in the modern world

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

Personal accounts, aboard the Leviathan, from Darwin’s granddaughter

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

As a girl, listening to stories of Grandpa’s oceanic adventures, I never imagined that someday the very ship I’d be travelling on would be a creation of biological science: a flying whale.

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

Everyone on the ship runs around as if slightly mad, making adjustments to this incredible vessel. Scientists sort Fabricants into different habitat chambers, crewmen dash about. Even within the chaos I can’t help but fight back tears of joy as I sit in the middle of our airborne laboratory, gazing out at passing clouds.

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

The beauty of this floating Lab is that scientists from all disciplines share space, collaborating. We should be able to move from hypotheses to practical experiments and mutations at a pace history has never experienced.

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

Sniffer Beagles are a gutsy Fabricant! They not only keep us safe from hydrogen leaks, but also inspire those of us new to air travel with their fearless comfort on the precarious catwalks.

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

Doctors Amherst, Calder and I are running our own little social experiment on board: Can men and women live together in midair? If only Queen Victoria could see us now!

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

If the midshipmen harbor any anxieties about the voyage, they do not speak of it, but find other ways to express it.

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

I spent the morning on the bridge. WHAT A VIEW! As exciting as the Lab is, nothing beats endless sight in every direction!

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

We have rearranged the Messenger Lizard room in hopes of eliminating cross-message contamination. I surmise the urgency stemmed from Captain Carver’s threat to do it himself if one more lizard told him to “collect Fetcher Monkey scat for testing.”

From the Pages of Nora Barlow

I am INSIDE the whale! First, I collected heart and stomach samples, but now I just sit and soak in the amazement of being inside this breathtaking organism. In the gondola, you can forget how truly alive the Leviathan is. I can’t help but wonder not only what she feels, but what are her thoughts?

Contact

support@fabricantlab.com

Presented in Collaboration with:

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