This project draws from the strong correlations between math and nature to explore the emergence of life itself.

Cellular Automata are one of the simplest forms of artificial life. Yet from these very simple mathematical algorithms a wide array of life like behavior can emerge. For this piece, I incorporated one of the most famous of Cellular Automata systems, Conway's Game of Life. While in Game of Life pixels are merely turning on and off based on those pixels around them, it seams as though a whole ecosystem teaming with creatures appears to arise. As in the natural world, a vast level of complexity emerges based on acute simplicity. Yet, every Cellular Automata algorithm needs an initial starting state or seed. From nothing you get nothing, nothing interesting at least.

Traditionally the seed is composed of an initial randomized state but in this case the work is dynamically seeded by the audience itself. Movement is tracked by a camera which compares lightness changes between frames. This generates an outline which only sustains itself while members of the audience are active. This outline leaves pixels, or cells turned on or "alive". The actions of those viewing the work thus create life within the work. If one stands still one's presence dissolves, and life continues uninterrupted.

It should be noted however that due to the inherent noise in the system, on an extremely rare occasion life will erupt on its own.

House Warming

Seed was exhibited at works/san josé as part of Housewarming. This member's exhibition ran from May 29th through July 19th of 2007. The gala reception took place on June 1st. The video below was recoded on June 1st and June 6th 2007.

Music Clip: Mimiga Vibe by k-wix from the Cave Story Remix Project

John Bruneau 2023