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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathImmersion

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environment: mass production with slight variations. The more complex the random structures are, the more the images appear to ‹live›—not fixed but mutable, adaptable, even ‹capable of learning› after accumulated evolution processes of selection.

Genetic image worlds seldom come in the form of 360° illusions; often they are shown on one large screen in a darkened room. However, they must be included in any analysis of the phenomenon of immersion because they produce image worlds that seem to be alive. Interaction with them, like in computer games, leads to the players—consciously or unconsciously—becoming increasingly involved in the logic and decision-making structures of the game and thus the users experience immersive impressions. These are enhanced further by the unpredictable animation and complexity that genetic image processes are capable of producing.

In an interactive evolutionary artwork, the artist offers its users a range of degrees of freedom and defines rules, which they must follow. These attain major importance for they are essential for the


reception and process of the work, something that was unknown before.[42] Without interaction, the artwork «A-Volve» does not exist. Users actually do follow the continued survival of their creatures and try to protect them from others. This is an effect of social presence, which through the individualized software agents whose appearance is suggestive of social behavior, consciousness and feelings serves to increase immersion in the environment. Similar to computer games, the interaction with ‹individualized› agent programs intensifies the impression of being immersed in the image space and the action taking place there. Nevertheless, in the case of «A-Volve» aesthetic distance has two poles: the tendency to remove emotional boundaries, which is the effect of social presence, but also distance that enables control over the creatures in the first place and acceptance of their ‹death.› This distance, however, arises in the course of interacting with the scenario of images and merely demonstrates how effective the design of «A-Volve» is with regard to the principle of immersion.

The work of Karl Sims, a computer artist educated

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