[-empyre-] making a meta-living


As a practictioner working with generative strategies and code to create aestethic systems, I am obviously interested in this discussion. Although I rarely use "pure" a-life algorithms like CA or GA, principles of emergence and complexity feature heavily in my work.

I'm enjoying the high enthusiasm shown for the field of a-life and its philosophical implications, but have yet to see any real discussion about the art produced by it. In particular, I wonder if the term "a-life art" really makes sense, much as "generative art" doesn't make sense. Both terms describe means of production but not the intention of the artist. Is "a-life art" art that is about a-life? Or is it art produced through a-life methods, much as paintings are produced (mostly) by use of a brush?

I am also intrigued by the following statement by Paul Brown:

A problem also implicit in your words - the exploration of novelty for
novelty's sake - the pit that BritArt (& a lot of contemporary art) has
fallen into. A personal value judgement here - that what I'm doing (&
others in the field) is more valuable/meaningful that what many in the
art mainstream are doing.  Perhaps they are too hung up on "making a
living" (a strange concept that has appeared twice in this stream! -
Is there really anyone out there that believes that art - at any level
apart from the most banal/peripheral - is about "making a living"?)
and not about undertaking the obligation of necessary research.

Exactly how is the work conducted by you and your colleagues more valuable than work done in the art mainstream, for instance by the BritArt group? Is it by virtue of scientific value or greater relevance to society?

If one was to extrapolate a discussion from this, it might be about which criteria for quality should be applied to art that uses a-life strategies. Would good a-life art be the projects with the best science, the most consistent artistic vision, the best algorithms, the best visual/aural representation etc etc?

Marius Watz - Amoeba / Unlekker marius--at--unlekker.net


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