Artificial Nature with Haru Ji + Graham Wakefield

How can life emerge from non-life?

“Artificial natures” are interactive art installations surrounding humans with biologically-inspired complex systems experienced in immersive mixed reality. The invitation is to become part of an alien ecosystem rich in networks of complex feedback, but not as its central subject. Though computational, they are inspired by the sense of open-ended continuation and the aesthetic integration of playful wonder with the tension of the unfamiliar recalled from childhood explorations in nature.

Haru Jiis a media artist and co-creator of the research project “Artificial Nature”, exploring the subject of life in art through artificial life worldmaking: a form of computational generative art creating and evolving virtual ecosystems as immersive environments. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology from the University of California Santa Barbara, an MFA and BFA from Seoul National University and studied image engineering, computer graphics and 3D animation at Chung-Ang University, both in Seoul, Korea.

Graham Wakefield's research has evolved from computer music composition to the generation of open-ended environments for exploratory experience, emphasizing continuation over closure. This work is expressed through software design for creative coding, and immersive artworks of artificial ecosystems (both leveraging live system evolution through dynamic compilation).


During the workshop, students learned that a Cellular Automata (CA) is a grid of cells, each of which can be in one or another state, and which follows a very simple set of rules to change its state according to the states of other cells nearby. Students examined the nature of CA by building John Conway's Game of Life through web-based Javascript editors to make lines of script which explore the Game of Life's essential components and how they can lead to precarious, emergent, and resilient systems.

Games of Life

Cellular Automata (CA) demonstrated clear examples of how non-living machines can give rise to emergent behaviors seen in life. The CA model is a foundation of fields of Artificial Life and AI Complexity, as well as the development of modern computers, but also to interdisciplinary and generative art and design practices.

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