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.