An ecosystem of software agents that adapt to the colours of their environment (2017).
Colourfield Lux is a new iteration of Colourfield (2009/2010), a generative ecosystem of artificial life agents that form symbiotic and stigmergic relationships based on their perceived colour.
Originally inspired by scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis – that organisms and their environment form a synergistic, self-regulating and self-supporting complex system – Colourfield creates an ever-changing, miniature model world of relationships based on individual colour. Over long periods of evolution, the simulation displays many of the features of real ecosystems: symbiosis, co-dependency, mimicry and predator-prey relationships. In this new iteration of the work, real environmental dependencies are introduced into the virtual simulation. Light and colour are sensed from the environment immediately in front of the work, which feeds back into the virtual ecosystem. Changing colour forces the agents to become adaptive to both their simulated and real environments. The evolutionary adaptive nature of the simulation allows the work to display complex dynamics over long time periods, rewarding extended engagement. It generates a self-renewing, never-ending and never-repeating sequence through its internal logic that is directed by the environment in which it operates, and so is unique to any environment.
A circular screen surrounded by a black frame hangs on a wall like a discrete painting. However, this painting is always ‘looking back’ at the viewer and responding to them over time. Colourfield Lux forms a mediation on technology, the environment, the self, and the connection between them.
Colourfield Lux was commissioned for Experimenta Media Art's exhibition Make Sense. The exhibition ran from 2017–2021, touring nationally in urban and regional galleries around Australia.