Trevor Batten:
     Some Notes on the Works in the AUTOGENETICS Series:
 
 

 I.    The Concept:

      The AUTOGENETICS Series is concerned with models of, or metaphors for,
      the creative process. Ecologies of Information asking how evolution
      can be sustained within a closed universe?

      So the general underlying theme is a fascination with the problem of
      self-creating universa. Not only the physical big-bang that possibly
      created our physical universe but also the cultural big-bang that
      occurred when mankind began self-conscious thought. Perhaps also the
      personal big-bang involving the artist as a closed, self referring,
      information processing system.

      The theoretical basis for AUTOGENETICS claims the process of
      "self-interaction" as an important basic principle. Essentially,
      it implies a closed system which is capable of re-interpreting itself
      by means of rule-based transformation of its own introspective actions.

      The computer programs are essentially complex cell automata which
      scan through the image and silently modify it according to rules
      operating on the colour values of pixels located around the point
      selected at that moment by the scanning process.

      A variety of rules provide variation in the scanning and transformation
      process. For example, changes of scale permit enlargement or reduction
      of the image as part of the transformation. Also important is that the
      image, after transformation, is not always drawn in the same place as
      where it originated from (i.e. reading and writing scans are independent
      of each other).

      The fact that sooner or later the process reads what it has recently
      written means that the transformation process needs no original input
      as a starting point. The image is thus generated purely and simply by
      the transformation process itself (as it were by folding the visual
      space in which it operates).

      Variations in the transformation process are required in order to
      permit a rich universe of images to evolve. The richer the set of
      possible transformations, the greater is the danger of chaos. The
      selection of possible variation is at present largely based on chance,
      but the choices have to be carefully organized in order to generate
      and preserve structure. Obviously some visual information must be
      preserved in order to give continuity and some information must be
      lost in order to prevent chaotic over-complexity.
 

      The challenge to the programming artist is to organize the variation
      and structure the choices to create a personal balance between the
      dialectic poles of chaotic complexity and boring simplicity. To
      balance variation and repetition, determinism and non-determinism,
      expectation and surprise, form and content, growth and decay. In other
      words, to play the aesthetic game in its purest form.
 
 
 
 

 II.    The Work:
 
    AUTOGENESIS   1992:
 
          After simple modification the image processor used in "Scroll"
          (in the RANDOM ECOLOGY Series) has become an independent image
          processor/generator.
 
    INTUITION     1992:
          After further modification by adding extra sub-divisions of the
          (mirrored) scanning space the image processor used in Autogenesis
          is combined with another more simple (non-symmetric) image
          processing system. One system has identical read/write scans
          while in the other system they are independent of each other
          and may or may not be parallel. This also allows a change of
          scale to be introduced.
 
    INTROSPECTION 1992:
          This time circle segments are used as a basic image principle.
          Both the colour of the segment and the length of the arc are
          determined by reading the image on the screen. Extra variation
          is achieved by using different families of machines, each with
          its own symmetry rule.
 
    INTERACTION   1992:
          The machines used in "Intuition" and "Introspection" are simply
          combined to generate more complex interactions.
 
 
               Trevor Batten
                Amsterdam, March 1998