Creative Technology /

Moral Labyrinth


Moral Labyrinth is a project originally conceived of by my collaborator, Newman, who hosted a series of workshops exploring public values around technology. Originally done with in-person installations, her 2020 workshops focused on questions of technology and justice and required new opportunities to show in a digital format given the pandemic lockdowns.


A web "installation" featured the generated moral labyrinth form in 3D (using ThreeJS for the web), created for Newman's 2019-2020 artist residency at Northeastern University's Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity.

About this project

From the artist website: As we all know, 2020 has been an unprecedented year in innumerable ways. The Moral Labyrinth is a continually evolving project that has taken a number of forms. Originally inspired by questions in technology around “value alignment”, the project addresses a range of questions from ethics to justice to public health. This version focuses on the difficulties we’ve faced, as a human species, and particularly in the US, this year. Due to the gravity of these questions and of the times we face, the 2020 version of the labyrinth is more like a knot — deeply entangled and complex.

Moral Labyrinth 2020

The knot was generated parametrically using Grasshopper, a plugin for the 3D modeling tool Rhino. It overlaid text generated from live workshops conducted by Newman, the artist who originally created the original Moral Labyrinth project.

Because the input text from the workshops Newman held were a fixed length, I used the Kangaroo physics plugin for Grasshopper, which specializes in optimization, form-finding, and interactive simulation to explore knot forms that perfectly matched the length of the text.

The knot was exported as a STL file and viewed on the web using ThreeJS.