2012 / The Search

Artwork Description:

Abstraction in art is a mechanism for coping with underlying complexity as it is in the natural sciences, and in both science and in the world of art, abstraction can provide meaningful insights. Therefore, each element of an artwork then becomes a reflection of the nature that it mirrors the creativity found in the natural world. These abstract elements become important tools in humanity's drive to make and understand and the material that is at the heart of the interaction of science, art and the natural world. These reflections then become keys of science in our ability to understand the way in which nature is an expression of the whole of the universe. In the Search, the key is held by the theme of random walks which is an essential and repeated theme throughout the other works in the collection. It provides a mechanism by which we can explore simple interactions as they underpin behaviors in the world we see everyday. Random walks provide an alternative context to this everyday world in the space provided by a blank canvas. The Search is the product of several automatons that roam just as ants do as they forage for food in blind, yet predictable patterns that can be understood in both practical and mathematical terms. The beauty of the random walk, as it is displayed in the Search, is its ability to visit all the points in space with enough time. Random walks are therefore an optimization method seen throughout nature and based on simple, heuristic rules. In the Search, random walks lead to a system of diffusion in which agents seek out resources while leaving a visible trail that diminishes as the actors move from their starting point and denotes the life the remaining life expectancy of each of these agents. These trails quickly form in each piece and they become a study into the nature of these single agents as they search the area around them, and while of the search patterns of individual agents crisscross with previous trails none of this is intentional. Red points in the artwork act as the only marker and indication of death of the agents. Each of these cellular automaton is related to Langtonā€™s ants, elements that are Turing complete and therefore, capable of universal computation. Yet from the viewpoint of the observer all we see is a mass whose sheer immensity will likely to cause its inevitable collapse inward to the point of origin. It is the gravity of the focal point in the middle of this mass that holds together the work. And this mass is symbolic of the art of imperfection all of which arises from mathematical descriptions of each agent as it undergoes a random walk as they search out in order to find niches in the ecosystem provided to them in the space of the canvas.

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