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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathImmersion
Trans Plant (Sommerer/Mignonneau), 1995Intro Act (Sommerer/Mignonneau), 1995GENMA; Genetic Manipulator (Sommerer/Mignonneau), 1996
Life Spacies (Sommerer/Mignonneau), 1997HAZE Express (Sommerer/Mignonneau), 1999A-Volve (Sommerer/Mignonneau), 1993

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«Trans Plant» (1995), «Intro Act» (1995), «GENMA» (1996), «Life Spacies» (1997), and «HAZE Express» (1999). «A-Volve,» a real-time installation developed in 1994 at the National Institute for Supercomputing in Illinois and the ATR Lab in Kyoto, Japan, projects evolution that takes place in a computer into an illuminated pool of water. Software agents that resemble three-dimensional creatures ‹inherit› their phenomenology according to a model based on evolutionary transmission of traits, where new combinations arise through the principles of crossover and mutation, which are only constrained by the framework of selection determined by the artists. A ‹genetic code› consisting of ninety parameters ensures that no two of these teeming image amoebas look alike. For image production, evolution is a groundbreaking procedure. Well-directed application of the random principle enables the generation of unpredictable, non-reproducible, unique and transient images. The more complex the motor functions and phenomenology, the more intensely the images appear to ‹live.› Visitors to


the installation, who ‹create› the colorful software agents, intervene in the evolution of succeeding generations. This personal involvement with complex images of artificial life forms in an interactive context is most important for the immersive power of genetic art. An icon of genetic art, «A-Volve» is undoubtedly one of the most important artworks of the last century.

«A-Volve's» evolution is based on genetic programs developed by Laurent Mignonneau. Generally, the object of these computational operations is to achieve a homogeneous, uniform optimum of adaptation innovatively and efficiently. To this end, the principles of natural non-predetermined evolution are simulated: selection, crossover and mutation. By employing genetic algorithms, «A-Volve» endeavors to create biological mechanisms such as growth, reproduction, mutation, adaptation and ‹intelligence.› Evolution appears here rather like a boring machine whose salient characteristic is extravagant and wasteful production of ever-new random forms, which are tested and discarded in a dynamically changing

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