E-volver Breeding Units

For the breeding-units the artists developed software that generates artificial pixel-sized agents. Each agent is made up of thirteen genes that together determine how the agent will behave on the screen. The genes read the properties of their eight surrounding pixels and, based on the value that they find, tell the agent what to do with the pixel on which it stands and to which pixel it should move to next. In this way, each of the agents leaves its individual traces on the screen. The colourful and dynamic animations that arrise, make one think of microscopic observations, geological processes, cloud formations, fungus cultures, organ tissues or satellite photos, but ultimately they still avoid any definitive identification.
The behaviour of the eight agents that create the patterns, is influenced by the scientists working in the Research Labs. The software allows people to interact with the visual patterns that are being displayed. By tapping on the touch-screen they can deactivate one of the four animations. Voting out the least exciting animation, devalues those particular genes and, simultaneously, upgrades the genes of the three surviving animations. In other words: on the basis of personal preferences, the selection process evolves a group of agents that generate the most intruiging animation. That is, until the computer resets, which happens when a predetermined number of votes has been cast. And then the whole process begins again.


E-volver scratches the surface of the actual research that takes place in the LUMC and even corresponds to it. Whereas the scientists are mainly focused on the chemistry, genetics and the evolution of biological life, we concentrate on the possibilities that the underlying mechanisms of these processes can offer art by implementing them as a purely visual and image-generating system. In this way E-volver reflects the complexity of the biochemical universe as well as humanity's desire for knowledge and understanding. Autonomous processes such as growth and evolution, which can maybe be understood theoretically but which are never directly perceptible in daily life, are made perceptible on a sensory level by E-volver. At the same time the work provides a genuine aesthetic experience.
driessens & verstappen large print screensaver e-volver