Ani Liu

Untitled: (A Search for Ghosts in the Meat Machine)
What does it mean to be human? At first glance a simple question, the idea of being human is an unstable construct, continuously recrafted. Recent technological innovations allow us to redesign ourselves profoundly— from networked prosthetics and artificial intelligence, to the genetic code of life itself. Can our behaviors be reduced to algorithms? Can our bodies be upgraded with nonorganic integrations? Can sentience itself by manufactured in a lab? This set of nine sculptures examines personhood from anatomical, psychological, genetic, biochemical, behavioral, algorithmic, personal narrative and memory. In many ways, this installation is an emotional confrontation with being quantifiable.

mathias bengtsson

growth table
Mathias Bengtsson developed unique computer software seven years ago to quickly design prototypes. Its initial intention was not to simply use a particular technology and deploy its possibilities, but to use it as a tool for the imitation of nature and natural forms. Such design software can, according to Mathias Bengtsson, be compared to the growth of a plant whose machine somehow registers the genetic code to calculate its final form. Mathias Bengtsson only has to guide this development to obtain the desired shapes.

Wayne McGregor

Autobiography is an abstract meditation on aspects of self, life and writing, a non-linear approach to a life story refracting both remembered pasts and speculative futures. McGregor worked with dancers from his company in 2017 to create choreography from old writings, personal memories, pieces of art and music that have been important in his life. From these elements, 23 sections of movement material were created, reflecting the 23 pairs of chromosomes of the human genome. The choreographic events from the 23 sections were then fed into an algorithm based on McGregor’s genetic code.


Blueprint embraces the relationship and parallels between art and science, creating compositions through the mathematical principles of logic that underpin life. Exploring analogies between DNA and computer code, UVA have created the Blueprint series; works that pair genetics and code as the blueprints of artificial and natural systems. As the work slowly changes over time, patterns fluctuate between varying degrees of complexity. Blueprint uses the basic concepts of evolution to create an ever-transitioning image. With cells literally transferring their genes to their adjoining others, colour flows like paint across the canvas. Drawing up a unique colourful composition every minute, Blueprint presents the unlimited outcome that results from a single algorithm; a single set of rules.

Driessens & Verstappen

Breed (1995-2007) is a computer program that uses artificial evolution to grow very detailed sculptures. The purpose of each growth is to generate by cell division from a single cell a detailed form that can be materialised. On the basis of selection and mutation a code is gradually developed that best fulfils this “fitness” criterion and thus yields a workable form. The designs were initially made in plywood. Currently the objects can be made in nylon and in stainless steel by using 3D printing techniques. This automates the whole process from design to execution: the industrial production of unique artefacts.
Computers are powerful machines to harness artificial evolution to create visual images. To achieve this we need to design genetic algorithms and evolutionary programs. Evolutionary programs allow artefacts to be “bred”, rather than designing them by hand. Through a process of mutation and selection, each new generation is increasingly well adapted to the desired “fitness” criteria. Breed is an example of such software that uses Artificial Evolution to generate detailed sculptures. The algorithm that we designed is based on two different processes: cell-division and genetic evolution.


نوفا جيانغ
Ideogenetic Machine
“Ideogenetic Machine” is an interactive installation that incorporates portraits of participants into an algorithmically generated comic book. A camera captures the portrait live while an algorithm transforms the photographic image into a “line drawing”. Face detection is utilized to insert-code generated blank speech bubbles into the narrative. The software creates never repeating compositions using a set of rules that approximate the compositional decisions made by a human comic book author. The comic is projected live, and consists of the algorithmically processed portraits as well as randomly chosen story elements from a database of drawings. The story elements are drawn by the artist, mostly illustrating speculative narratives based on current news and events. A participant can email him or herself the finished comic as a PDF file.