generated agents

apparently.. not much of generative art is worth the second look; verdict intense research, browsing etc on the net. so little spectacular in fact.. we came up with the same work.

kind of surprised, therefore, i will add these lines, musing why :;

generative, if seen from ‘generating’ implies some sort of evolutionary path; something related to ‘artificial intelligence’, promised but unfulfilled, some machine intelligence really..

quite natural for a culture obsessed with technology and awe towards the ‘fulfilled’ promise of an industrial revolution –
as much as pondering the consequences that this very path has led us – a polluted and destroyed environment.

so, the very least intelligent agents have to be able to is – be studied as to understand what went wrong where.

on the other side, kind of faustian – but again desperate – is the hope to understand the blueprint and change for the better – definition to everyone’s criteria, and therefore problematic.

anyway, ‘we want’ something more then entertaining, something that hinges at a deeper truth of sorts, something ‘enlightening’. since machines freed us some time, doing tedious repetitive jobs for us, we use this for edutainment (high or low brow culture is not that different).

[ should i believe an – intriguing – recent dinner conversation,, this aspect might change: an increase in price for the employment of machinery (oil) versus a decrease in price for employment of human force for the same, might re-make the latter into one of our future energy sources.. and change any percentage of human input (time+creativity) to accomplish future works.

unlike the matrix (the movie that is), i don’t have a humanistic opinion; nor does it scare me [ quite yet ] to envision and help dream the potentialities of an intelligence ‘made in our image’. this, unfortunately, shows a lack of thinking outside the box [extendible to other areas .. ] .. why in our image?

and this is why shoal are so interesting, they are something like life-forms, therefore related to us. that they are digital, following mathematical formulas (however chaotic or dynamic), is not that alientating.. in fact we can barely make sense of all the tiny things in/around us, the stuff we breath.. and that interact with our organism, an agglomerate of these little (semi-)intelligent or at least functional things.

perfect for a mechanistic world, yet with the touch of something more, some beauty, some layers, depth, heights.. one has to look up to – literally – and be a-mazed by (well) our own global transactions.


black shoals
by Joshua Portway and Lise Autogena



akin to a planetarium, this generative art piece by joshua portway and lise autogena, represents current stock tradings as stars or clusters.

lying underneath a “sky”, economics becomes biology as evolving entities or artificial intelligence creatures represent the stock and its life-cycles, with each star/entity representing a trading company, where they react on each worldwide interaction connected to ‘their’ stock, which is seen as food.

“Within this environment, a complex ecology of glowing amoeba-like “artificial life” creatures emerge. The creatures live in a world composed entirely of money and they feed on trading activity. Whenever a stock is traded its’ equivalent star produces food for the creatures – the bigger the trade, the more food is produced.”

moreover the arificial lives move about following their particular set of evolutionary rules, approching and clustering around fortunes, companies and their seeming alliances.

originally conceived during the boom, and envisioned as a lunch-part-time for wallstreeters in london, it became exhibited after its crash, therefore took on another dimension.

both in terms of title as much as underlying rules, the activities are based on the nobel-pize winning formula of “black scholes” – whereas the holy grail of stock-forecasting seemed to have be achieved, until its collapse in 98.

in a world where money reigns, fears or predictions seen as in a stellarium form rather then the abstract lines of numbers and graphs on the floor.

svb ]


Some generative art videos

John Maeda: Nature

Ars Electronica 2006


Philippe Galanter: Untitled (bubbles), 1996

This is a 3 minute excerpt of a 60 minute generative art video. It was created using genetic software coded by the artist. The software system used is called GA1 and is described in a paper that was presented at the Generative Art Conference in Milan Italy in 2000. More information is available at:

This piece is intended for installation using floor to ceiling projection and high fidelity sound.

Generative art workshop by Marius Watz at Merz Akademie in Stuttgart. November 2007.



Generative art / music

“Generative art refers to art that has been generated, composed, or constructed in an algorithmic manner through the use of systems defined by computer software algorithms, or similar mathematical or mechanical or randomised autonomous processes.”  This is what you will find as a definition of generative art by Wikipedia. 

Basicly generative media is about constant coding and decoding, it’s also about translation and interpretation, anchoring and drift.  If you allow yourself to see through the medium you will found an underlying structure, an inert recipient of ideas. In my search for some examples of generative art I limited myself to the music scene.  Basic forms of generative music have been existed for quite some time.  Wind chimes are a nice example.  Men have only compositional control in the choice of the notes or pitches, but the actual music or sound is generated by parameters within an ecology, like wind. 

An early example of a generative system based on randomness can be found in the “Musikalisches Würfelspiel” (Musical Dice Game – 1757) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  The idea was to compose a 16-measure “waltz” by using dice to decide which measures to select.  In this piece the measures are numbered from 1 to 176 and these numbers then are arranged in two charts, each consisting of 11 rows and 8 columns.  If the first measure needed to be selected, a player would roll two dice, subtract 1 from the total, and look up the corresponding row in the first column of the first chart to determine the appropriate measure number.  Subsequent rolls of the dice decide which measure to select from each successive column to complete the melody.  Composing by using this system could produce a number of possible waltzes so large that any waltz you generate with the dice and actually play is almost certainly a waltz never heard before. 

Terry Riley’s  In C (1964) is a more recent generative music piece.  Its form was an innovation during that time.  The music is written in C, as the title implies, and consists of 53 separate modules.  Each module contains roughly one measure apiece, but a different musical pattern.  During the performance of the piece one sets the beat onto the piano to keep tempo.  The other musicians, in any number and on any instrument, perform the modules while following some loose guidelines.  The different musical modules interlock in various ways as time goes on.

Enjoy the music!


Generative art

Hello everyone,

No doubt, the last two weeks has been quite stimulating in terms of re-thinking the field of generative art creations, from the experience of patch building during the VVVV workshop at TM to some of the lectures & AV performances presented at the Cimatics festival 07/Brussels.

Before I start talking about couple of projects I found interesting throughout my research, I would like to add one of the definitions of generative art formulated by Philip Galanter, in order to clear up the subject of discussion.
Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art.’
(From ‘What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art Theory’, Philip Galanter, New York University, 2003.)

My interest was focused mainly on generative art at its popular digital form, but actually there are many other non-digital art works which belong to the same generative category (Jean Tinguely: “Metamatic” (1959->), Hans Haacke: “Condensation Cube”, 1963-65, etc.)


Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium
Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium


I came across a project created by Lisa Autogena and Joshua Portway called “Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium”, an installation presented in a dark room with a domed ceiling upon which a computer display is projected like a planetarium. The audience is immersed in a world of real-time stock market activity, represented as the night sky, full of stars that glow as trading takes place on particular stocks. The stars slowly move across the sky, clustering together or drifting apart in response to the shifting affinities of their respective companies, growing or shrinking as the company’s fortunes change. Detailed information about this project could be found at


SignwaveAutoshop 1.2


Another generative work, which I found truly entertaining is called “Autoshop” by Adrian Ward. Autoshop is an explorative parody of professional bitmap graphic manipulation software. By asserting it’s own creative agendas upon the user, it raises awareness of authorship and the position of the creator when digital systems are in use. To get better idea about the qualities of this piece, go to , download the demo software and try it out. The results are amazing, especially if you intend to bug, melt or a bot to take control over your image.:) Have fun with that!





Camera Lucida: Sonochemical Observatory


[ one of the best installations i saw recently, first at montevideo, then at v2; text excerpts from ]

by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand

“Camera Lucida” is an immersive spatial art work creating a fleeting ephemeral materiality by intersecting ultrasound with hyperlight … in essence creating an unstable sonic aurora. Developed in collaboration with numerous physics research labs the ‘observatory’, a transparent gas-filled chamber, converts sound waves into visible light by employing a phenomenon known as sonoluminescence. Here, gaseous micro-bubbles injected within a fluid medium are blasted with ultrasound causing them to implode, at which point they become as hot as the sun and release light energy in the form of sound waves. By modulating, or ‘playing’ the ultrasonic transducers attached to the glass chamber an ever-changing sonochemical environment, visible only within a sheath of extreme darkness, emerges.

Belarussian/American artist duo Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand’s practice creates cross-disciplinary art works that integrates physics, chemistry and computer science with philosophical practice. With the /Camera Lucida/ they work to harness wave phenomena, both as sound and light in order to examine intrinsic questions of spatial perception and perpetuality. Having dismissed all forms of fixative and recording media, Domnitch and Gelfand’s installations exist as unstable, ever-transforming phenomena offered for observation.

Understanding algorithms

Last week we did a workshop about algorithms with M. Fuller & D. Antic,
I had great time and fun actually, doing what I like most, that means working
with different materials and see their interaction to build up structures,
shapes, builduing somehow a mechanic system for an expansion of territory.
Only this time I had to merely observe the evolution of it to write what was
supposed to be an algorithm.
Having an intuitive, empiric thus specific logic approach to volume, it was not simple to assimilate in my logic system the conception of what exactly an algorithm was. Or at least which application in life it would have. I always ended up into an ecuation structure which wasn’t wrong but not only or quiet exactly. I tried to recall what I learned in school in maths classes but my memory didn’t reach that file. I looked up into Wikipedia and see it wasn’t so easy to explain neither. I think the problem I encounter was to “accept” a logic where no unattendent variable is taking in count. To accept its linear descriptive procedure as a form (at it’s basic structure which of course can get more and more complex as to run a computer) As in Wittgensteins’ “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” “Truth Tables”, where for example,
a binary addition can be represented with the truth table without the use of logic gates or codes

A B | C R
1 1 | 1 0
1 0 | 0 1
0 1 | 0 1
0 0 | 0 0


A = First Operand
B = Second Operand
C = Carry
R = Result

This truth table is read left to right:
Value pair (A,B) equals value pair (C,R).
Or for this example, A plus B equal result R, with the Carry C.

The table does not describe the logic operations necessary to implement this operation, rather it simply specifies the function of inputs to output values. In this case it can only be used for very simple inputs and outputs, such as 1’s and 0’s, however if the number of types of values one can have on the inputs increases, the size of the truth table will increase. For instance, in an addition operation, one needs two operands, A and B. Each can have one of two values, zero or one.
The number of combinations of these two values is 2×2, or four. So the result is four possible outputs of C and R. If one was to use base 3, the size would increase to 3×3, or nine possible outputs.

So my problem was to take this position of a researcher describing onlythe procedures and results of an operation system. Without undestarding
what the purpose was,well…maybe I was just going too metaphysical with the question…

Back to mother earth (and thanks to stepmother web)
I finally found a very simply and playful display of an algorithm as if
explained to a 5 year old child, from people who know don’t take
themselves too seriously, which suited me perfectly.


Calculation space : report 03 (by marie-laure)

After the workshop with Dragana and Matthew Fuller, I summerized the wool strings algorithms here.

Now I’m working on analysing clubbers behaviour in video I’ve made, establishing parameters and generating new sets of algorithms. Then I’d like to translate those algorithms into another media, like drawings,… or to change the parameters in order to re-perform the situation into another video. I’m also interested to apply the notion of time to a media which doesn’t doesn’t include it. Have a look at the first results here!