Processes of Life/Painting

Processes of Life/Painting

Custom-made software | Interactive online archives of the generated images


The project explores the relationship between life, digital technology and painting, also technologically adapts and develops further Paul Klee’s idea of abstract painting that is the abstraction of rules of natural formation and growth.

The project is composed of two artworks: an algorithmic collage programme, and a webpage as a growing space of images generated by the programme.

The programme can be running to create numerous images, and it is based on a life-imitating algorithm called Game of Life. This algorithm distributes pixels that keep changing on an image plane according to pre-set rules, and due to these rules, each pixel reacts to the state of its neighbouring pixels to determine the next state. Consequently, the interactions between the local pixels provide the whole (image plane) as a constantly shifting, complex ecosystem. This ecosystem, by being perturbed by the interactions, provides a visual pattern that keeps changing in life-like, unpredictable ways.

Every time the programme is (re)activated, it automatically cuts and pastes the source images (digitised paintings) the artist created – according to the complex visual patterns generated. As the result, the collaged image constantly changes colour, texture and composition in innumerable ways within the systematic complexity.

(A video excerpt of the programme)

In turn, the generated images have been uploaded (by the artist) as thumbnails on the webpage, and the thumbnails themselves will form visual patterns that are also based on results of a Game of Life algorithm.

The website page metaphorically plants and grows structures of the images generated, by allocating them in thumbnails. In this way, the thumbnails sequentially show the permutations of the ecosystem. And the page as a whole will be forming a visual pattern that grows as time passes. The project reinterprets the idea of web space as an expanding space of process-based production and exhibition, as the fabric of the visual patterns on the page expands through the processes of the automatic, algorithmic collaging and thumbnail mapping.


Online archive


[Click the image on the right or the links below to see the online archives]

< ARCHIVE 1 (Interfaces Monthly) >
< ARCHIVE 2 (Gallery ELL) >

Processes of Life/Painting IRL

Installation at Interfaces Monthly, July 2016