Mitchell Whitelaw: Metacreation & The Teeming Void

Weather Bracelet – Mitchell Whitelaw

Mitchell Whitelaw is a writer and artist specializing in the field of complex generative systems, data aesthetics and A-life Art. His blog, The Teeming Void contains some excellent articles, often scraping below the surface of the generative/emergent aesthetic to reveal a detailed and coherent philosophical stance. Metacreation: Art and Artificial life, his book on the subject of A-life Art, published in 2004, is a detailed critical analysis of the first wave of artists utilizing emergent systems. From the MIT page:

‘Whitelaw presents a-life art practice through four of its characteristic techniques and tendencies. “Breeders” use artificial evolution to generate images and forms, in the process altering the artist’s creative agency. “Cybernatures” form complex, interactive systems, drawing the audience into artificial ecosystems. Other artists work in “Hardware,” adapting Rodney Brook’s “bottom-up” robotics to create embodied autonomous agencies. The “Abstract Machines” of a-life art de-emphasize the biological analogy, using techniques such as cellular automata to investigate pattern, form and morphogenesis.’

I’ve not read the book yet, but if the blog writing is anything to go by, ill certainly be adding it to my list and if your wondering who’s work is discussed in the book, check out the plate’s selection. Elsewhere on Mitchell’s well organized site you can find links to more of his writings as well as to his own computational artwork. Us is Them is a ‘generative work in progress, exploring difference and differentiation’ – its explanatory text presents some nice metaphors of delineation and separation as a counterpoint to the work itself.

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