Requisite Variety

Generative Painting
Requisite Variety is a generative artwork created with custom graphics software, representing each pixel’s color as the state of some place (pixel columns) at some time (pixel rows). Two simulated 'organisms' coevolve pixel-by-pixel across this spacetime canvas, each pixel using its neighbors’ prior states to determine its own according to some ‘worldview’.

One system symbolizes humanity, visualizing successive generations as rows of pixels descending from the top of the canvas (a one-dimensional worldview implying a linear experience of time). It self-organizes into aperiodic, complex patterns over many time steps, exhibiting characteristics found in natural dynamics such as population growth and decline.

The other system represents AI-based technologies. It features a two-dimensional worldview where successive generations overwrite prior across space and time. Structure emerges in three dimensions, instead of two, possibly propagating 'back in time,' at least from the perspective of the 'human' system. A projection of this structure is visualized, appearing like a latticework of lichens covering a boulder.  

As coevolution compounds down the canvas, the systems become more intertwined. The higher-dimensional structure of the 'AI' system supersedes that of the 'human' system, evoking a possible future where humans and machines are tightly bound, but perhaps not in the ways we expect.

Created on private commission for Bridgewater Associates.
Custom graphics software
Dimensions variable
Duration infinite
2023
A two-step animation shows the coevolution from the perspective of each system respectively, for clarity. Each time the simulation resets, a new future is imagined.
Commissioned for a private collection.