EvoMUSART 2014

I presented a new paper at EvoMUSART 2014 in Granada, Spain (23-25 April 2014):

Balancing Act: variation and utility in Evolutionary Art.

The paper looks at the tradeoffs required between the expressive ability of a generative system and the proportion of useful or interesting results it is capable of producing. Structural or organisational rules increase the probability of getting useful results, but this is typically at the expense of the potential variety the system can produce. Thus the designer of any system needs to find a balance between organisational structure and expressive diversity to get the best results from any system.


You can download a pre-print of the paper here.



Evolutionary Art typically involves a tradeoff between the size and flexibility of genotype space and its mapping to an expressive phenotype space. Ideally we would like a genotypic representation that is terse but expressive, that is, we want to maximise the useful variations the genotype is capable of expressing in phenotype space. Terseness is necessary to minimise the size of the overall search space, and expressiveness can be loosely interpreted as phenotypes that are useful (of high fitness) and diverse (in feature space). In this paper I describe a system that attempts to maximise this ratio between terseness and expressiveness. The system uses a binary string up to any maximum length as the genotype. The genotype string is interpreted as building instructions for a graph, similar to the cellular programming techniques used to evolve artificial neural networks. The graph is then interpreted as a form-building automaton that can construct animated 3-dimensional forms of arbitrary complexity. In the test case the requirement for expressiveness is that the resultant form must have recognisable biomorphic properties and that every possible genotype must fulfil this condition. After much experimentation, a number of constraints in the mapping technique were devised to satisfy this condition. These include a special set of geometric building operators that take into account morphological properties of the generated form. These methods were used in the evolutionary artwork ‘Codeform’, developed for the Ars Electronica museum. The work generated evolved virtual creatures based on genomes acquired from the QR codes on museum visitor’s entry tickets.

Creative Coding MOOC

Our 6 week MOOC (Massive Open On-Line Course) on Creative Coding started on June 2, 2014. The course teaches introductory programming from a creative perspective. It’s free and open to anyone. Requires about 3 hours per week and no prior programming experience is necessary. You can sign up at Futurelearn. Here’s the trailer:

Use the #FLcreativecoding to share your work and thoughts associated with the course.

AISB14 Symposium on Computational Creativity

A new paper (with Mark d’Inverno) – following up from our epilogue to Computers and Creativity – was presented at the AISB14 Symposium on Computational Creativity at Goldsmiths, University of London on April 1–4, 2014. AISB is a convention for the society for the study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (the AISB). This year’s convention commemorates both 50 years since the founding of the AISB society and sixty years since the death of Alan Turing, founding father of both Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

The video above was part of the presentation of our paper and was followed by a live demonstration of the Music Circle project currently being undertaken at Goldsmiths.

We are very honoured that our paper, On the Future of Computers and Creativity, was selected to be included in the AISB-50′s anthology volume. Here’s a pdf pre-print of the paper.


Xcommunicate 2014

I’ll be presenting at the Xcommunicate: EMARE Symposium on the 1 March 2014,  at QUT’s The Cube in Brisbane.

The symposium will be based on the PechaKucha format – a dynamic fast-paced presentation and networking experience. Xcommunicate will be a combination of a keynote address, with creative practitioners, festival organisations, institutional directors and curators giving a five minute flash presentations on their work, spaces, programs and projects.

Speakers include: Peter Zorn (EMARE), Ricardo Peach, Jen Mizuik (Banff Centre), Jonathan Parsons (Experimenta), Kate Richards (Sparke Media), Vicki Sowry (ANAT), Jon McCormack (MONASH), Trish Adams, Lubi Thomas (QUT), Jacina Leong (QUT) and keynote address by Mike Stubbs (FACT).

10am – 5pm on Saturday 1 March 2014. QUT Gardens Point campus, Science and Engineering Centre (P Block), Brisbane, Queensland.

CreateWorld 2014 Keynote

I’ll be giving the keynote address at this year’s CreateWorld 2014: A digital arts conference, 12-13 February 2014. The conference takes place in Brisbane at Griffith University’s South Bank Campus.

Creative Ecosystems for the 21st Century

In just a few decades, technology has radically changed many creative disciplines. Once the domain of experimental artists and researchers working in expensive and often esoteric laboratories, technology is now a fundamental part of almost all creative conceptualisation, production, communication and distribution. But how well do people using these new technologies understand how they work and what effect have they had on individual and collective creativity?

We are now producing more information than any time in human history and much of that information is digital and almost instantly accessible. In this talk I will look at the new creative ecosystems of the 21st century and discuss how recent changes in technology will facilitate new forms of creativity between people, society and machines.

View the full program at: http://auc.edu.au/createworld/timetable/

For further details go to http://auc.edu.au/createworld/about/