Science of the Unseen Banner

Sheldon Brown


Assembly is an emergent behavior platform in which collections of entities evolve over time in relationship to their environment and each other, with guidance provided by viewers.

A synthetic system of encoding characteristics, and a set of rules akin to the chemistry and physics of an environment, provide the basis for creating increasingly complex emergent behavior. A collaborative agency is created between the impulses of the algorithmic systems and the means of their understanding through experimentation.

These genetic and environmental conditions are abstractions of an underlying scheme which can be applied to varied types of data. In the Assembly project we show this by working through three levels of representation that evoke 1) the cellular, 2) the organism, and 3) the socio-cultural.

Assisted by: Erik Hill and Wes Hawkins.

Media Used: video, Assembly interactive application.

Sheldon Brown combines computer science research with vanguard cultural production. He is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair of Digital Media and Learning at UCSD, and is the Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination where he is a Professor of Visual Arts and a co-founder of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (Calit2). His interactive artworks have been exhibited at: MOCA Shanghai, The Exploratorium in San Francisco, Ars Electronica in Linz Austria, The Kitchen in NYC, Zacheta Gallery in Warsaw, Centro Nacional in Mexico City, Oi Futuro in Rio de Janeiro, and others. He has been commissioned for public artworks in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Mexico City, and has grants from the NSF, AT&T New Experiments in Art and Technology, the NEA, IBM, Intel, Sun Microsystems, SEGA SAMMY, Sony, Vicon and others.