Pinot-Gallizios "pittura industriale", 1957.
-> It is thus important to understand that we are not speaking about a machine that paints more or less randomly. A robot, with wheels or legs, that evolves on a surface by chance or based on a predetermined set of instructions. In this context let me play tribute to the unjustly forgotten Italian artist Pinot-Gallizio. Inventor of the ‘pittura industriale’ he created a ‘machine’ (human assisted) that spread energetically paint on rolls of canvas, later to be sold by the meter at the more appraised Art Galleries of the fifties.
Anyway swarm paintings are not simple mechanic automation. Randomness or combinatorial aspects are not relevant. In fact, these works emerge from artificial ants, through a process of deposition/evaporation of pheromone. Some draw trails (where more pheromone, means more paint), others define clusters or build 3d objects. The result is a cognitive map and not a mere mechanical pattern.
When we look at one of these paintings, with its own materiality, we are not in the presence of chance. We see in fact the plastic expression of an (artificial) life form. 'Swarm paintings' are the product of an ant-swarm system capable of registering its existential activity, in a delimited ambient and during a certain period of time. Each painting, drawing or sculpture represents the global behaviour of multiple and simple individual behaviours, in a bottom-up approach.
It is certain that we still need somebody and a context to disclose these works. This particular ‘artificial artist’ depends, not only of human assistance, but also of a curator and probably also a dealer. But in the ‘swarm art’ the essential decisions for the emergence of the forms belong entirely to the ant-swarm. Therefore this ‘art’ cannot be attributed to any human being, even not to the author of the algorithm. That is, the programmer creates the ‘DNA’ of the ‘artist’, but not the art works. That is why we prefer to be ourselves called life and art architects, instead of artists. The true artist is the swarm.
The notion of life in the label ‘artificial life’ attained a vast consensus in the contemporary science. The life from aLife share a significant number of characteristics that are recognized as defining life itself. Morphogenesis, the ability to generate forms, reproduction, the capacity to transmit genetic information and therefore survive death, evolution the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Autopoiesis, the process whereby an organization produces itself, is another and more difficult to perform feature of life. 'A physical system if autopoietic is living. In other words, we claim that the notion of autopoiesis is necessary and sufficient to characterize the organization of living systems." (Maturana & Varela)
If we want to call art to the production of an artificial being than we must demonstrate to be in the presence of an autopoietic system. And that is the actual target of our undertaking. But from the moment we accept life in artificial life, there is no reason why not to call art to artificial art.
Richard Dawkins states that the difference between human art or design and the extraordinary forms that we encounter in nature, is due to the fact that the first are born from a mental project, while the second result from natural selection. Cultural and natural selection are supposed not to work in the same way. ->
Swarm painting 0008
Swarm painting 0010.
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