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Karl Sims «Galápagos» | Galápagos (installation view)
Karl Sims, «Galápagos», 1997
Galápagos (installation view) | © Karl Sims

Karl Sims «Galápagos» | Galápagos (installation view)Karl Sims «Galápagos»
interactive environment

 Karl Sims

«Galápagos» is an interactive Darwinian evolution of virtual ‹organisms.› Twelve computers simulate the growth and behaviors of a population of abstract animated forms and display them on twelve screens arranged in an arc. The viewers participate by selecting which organisms they find most aesthetically interesting and standing on step sensors in front of those displays. The selected organisms survive, mate, mutate and reproduce. Those not selected are removed, and their computers are inhabited by new offspring from the survivors. The offspring are copies and combinations of their parents, but their genes are altered by random mutations. Sometimes a mutation is favorable, the new organism is more interesting than its ancestors, and is then selected by the viewers. As this evolutionary cycle of reproduction and selection continues, more and more interesting organisms can emerge.
This process of interactive evolution can be of interest for two reasons. First, it has potential as a tool that can produce results that can not be produced in any other way, and second, it provides a unique method for studying evolutionary systems.
The results can potentially surpass what either human or machine could produce alone.


Karl Sims