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Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life
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Mitchell Whitelaw
Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life by Mitchell Whitelaw at Abbey's Bookshop,

Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life

Mitchell Whitelaw


Massachusetts Inst of Tec

Art & Architecture;
Theory of art


296 pages

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The first detailed examination of a-life art, where new media artists adopt, and adapt, techniques from artificial life.

Artificial life, or a-life, is an interdisciplinary science focused on artificial systems that mimic the properties of living systems. In the 1990s, new media artists began appropriating and adapting the techniques of a-life science to create a-life art; Mitchell Whitelaw's Metacreation is the first detailed critical account of this new field of creative practice.

A-life art responds to the increasing technologization of living matter by creating works that seem to mutate, evolve, and respond with a life of their own. Pursuing a-life's promise of emergence, these artists produce not only artworks, but generative and creative processes: here creation becomes metacreation.

Whitelaw presents a-life art practice through four of its characteristic techniques and tendencies. Breeders use artificial evolution to generate images and forms, in the process altering the artist's creative agency. Cybernatures form complex, interactive systems, drawing the audience into artificial ecosystems. Other artists work in Hardware, adapting Rodney Brooks's bottom-up robotics to create embodied autonomous agencies. The Abstract Machines of a-life art de-emphasize the biological analogy, using techniques such as cellular automata to investigate pattern, form and morphogenesis.

In the book's concluding chapters, Whitelaw surveys the theoretical discourses around a-life art, before finally examining emergence, a concept central to a-life, and key, it is argued, to a-life art.

By:   Mitchell Whitelaw
Imprint:   Massachusetts Inst of Tec
Country of Publication:   United States
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   386g
ISBN:   9780262731768
ISBN 10:   0262731762
Series:   The MIT Press
Pages:   296
Publication Date:   April 2006
Recommended Age:   From 18
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mitchell Whitelaw is Lecturer in New Media at the School of Creative Communication, University of Canberra.

A detailed and wide ranging view of artificial life (a-life) in art. Real Time

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