Cellular Automata

          When many attempt to describe Cellular Automata, John Conway’s “The Game of Life” appears most often as a starting example. As with many examples of Generative Art, there is some basic algorithm used to produce some sort of automated semblance of some aspect of life or artificial life. Along with John Conway’s game, there are others who have tried to simulate or emulate viruses, insect behavior, and other illustrations of some microcosm of a system or behavior found in life and nature. Erwin Driessens & Maria Verstappen attempted to create a version of, what I believe to be, a colorful exploration into three-dimensional space, although I believe the program is actually only two-dimensional..
Driessens & Verstappen’s “Ima Traveller” is based on a recurring division of a cell, into four separate cells, each with a distinct color. As each cell divides, the colors reproduced are based on probabilistic variations based on the original cell it split or multiplied from. Once viewed, the recursion appears to go into every direction, creating a feeling of moving through a type of colorful “space.” The feeling tends to make a viewer feel they are travelling in any direction, without borders, and perhaps without limits, other than what is created by the variation of color.
When I first viewed the “movie” example, like I was looking into a microscope that was zooming in on some globular piece of matter. Once the view got to the glob, or perhaps it was meant to be a cell of some sort, it no longer looked as though I was zooming in. It looked as though I was moving through an ever expanding space, not bound by limits of the glob. The effect was a feeling of smallness or insignificance in the face of something that appeared so small but was infinite within. To me, the effect is quite impressive, especially since this work was created around 1998 or 1999.

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