Reading Assignment : Information Arts – Intersections of Arts, Science and Technology

I read the chapter named <Artificial Life and Genetic Art>.

As a computer science major, i was interested in artificial intelligence and artificial ecosystems. But I have always dealt with these topics only with the eyes of a scientist. This was my limit, which was always far from art. But that wasn’t the case in my reading. There is an article like this at the end of the book.

A-Life (and other research areas) cannot be considered just a minor technical niche. Its meaning to the culture is larger than that, and the discourse must include that from outside the research field. Artists have begun that work; audiences and interpreters must continue it.

The ecosystems that interact with humans and the ever-changing artificial organisms in them are too interesting to be treated only with the curiosity of scientists.

The most impressive piece was Karl Sims’s work called <Panspermia> based on genetic art ideas.

His work was based on computer technology and fractal techniques, interacting with the viewer by selecting the desired image among graphic images with various parameter values. And this is reflected in the next generation.

After, Sims created another version of this work, called Galapagos. Below is Images of Galapagos from the website. The address is at the end of the article.

Sims notes like this.

“Perhaps someday the value of simulated examples of evolution such as the one presented in this exhibit will be comparable to the value that Darwin found in the mystical creatures of the Galapagos Islands.”

This is very interesting point. Galapagos and Panspermia have a lot to compare. Galapagos was discovered by scientists, and Panspermia was created by animators. Galapagos is the result of choice for survival, and Panspermia is the result of artistic choice. The selection criteria for Galapagos is “Nature” and the selection criteria for Panspermia is “viewer”. But neither selector has control over the world. It is the product of the change of numerous parameters that reflect constant choice, and no one can accurately predict the outcome. He describes to audiences their role as breeders:

The process in this exhibit is a collaboration between human and machine. (…) But the results can potentially surpass what either human or machine could produce alone. (…) Since the genetic codes and complexity of the results are managed by the computer, the results are not constrained by the limits of human design ability or understanding.

It is also interesting to note that both are revealed to the world by curiosity about human life and ecosystems. In comparing these points, I think, as he said, this work really has the same value as the Galapagos.

After reading the article, I was curious about the result of various works that changed not only the way humans interact with the artificial ecosystem but also the position of the interactions. For example, I would like to see is what will result if a group of people with specific human characteristics interact with each ecosystem in an ecosystem that gives parameters and selection criteria that have nothing to do with human characteristics? Another example is that, if computer algorithms make choices and humans exist in one space as organisms, then I wonder what the ecosystem would look like.

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