view of virtual object 64 samples

Artists’ ProposalArtists’ notesEMA websiteevent leaflet

64 Samples: Artist’s Notes

These are from general discussions from 2000, about the kind of work we wanted to do with The Emergency Artlab.

Dave’s Notes:

From the chemically-driven behaviour of slime moulds to humans (avoid hierarchies?)

As security within the environment increases, so do possibilities/complexity:

“survival encourages stereotypical behaviour that tends towards co-ordination, but not necessarily co-operation.

“support encourages complex explorations wherein the emergent behaviour is more likely (than that of survival) to display complex patterns and co-operation.”


…the effect of inertia on psychology may encourage survival-type behaviour when survival is no longer necessary, just as a cat used to starvation may bolt all available food (the Fat Freddy’s Cat syndrome!).

Networked behaviour/co-operation may contain pockets of defensive behaviour—civilisation that has become networked contains ‘gangs’ that retain simpler ‘single-leader’ co-ordination/configuration.

Communication is an engine of complexity

With personal validation invested in solitary ‘heroic’ or group ‘reactive’ behaviour, artists may be resistant to co-operation.

After Conversation With Mike:

emergent behaviour
is distinct from
emergent properties

The container set:

  1. The environment: which holds the following two overlapping sets:
    1. People: involved in a system involving computing and art
    2. A system: used by people involving computing and art

In [2] emergent behaviour can be encouraged (see previous notes) by both deliberate planning (maximise relations to encourage emergence) and by setting up supporting circumstances.

In [3] emergent properties can be encouraged by using networks and programming (artificial intelligence?)

In [1] the environment can be designed to encourage emergent behaviour over solitary or stereotypical behaviour.

The whole point is that we can’t predict what will emerge because at some point we lose the complexity of the (theoretically absolutely definable) computer system and start looking instead at the behaviour as a whole.