Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Emergent Effects Workshop 2008

The Robotic Ecologies Emergent Effects Workshop 2008 is running during the next two weeks from Jan 30 to Feb 13, 2008. The group will be meeting Wednesday nights from 7:00 - 10:00pm Campbell Hall Exhibition Room C. We will be hosting a series of electronics sessions including an intro to solar driven robotics led by Troy Rogers on Feb 6. Final prototypes will be presented on Feb 13.

From the workshop handout: Emergent behaviors are rendered visible when a small number of self-organizing agents interact in simple ways to produce complex patterns or effects. A familiar example is the collective swarming behavior of starlings: individual birds, with no top-down directive, follow simple rules to form extraordinary shape changing patterns in the sky. Many other dynamic processes in the material world, from bees to flowing metals to entire cities, can be explained using emergence theory.

The aim of the workshop is to invent and build small-scale machines that are capable of generating and registering these emergent effects. During this process we will be developing and situating small performative machines capable of generating, interacting and registering their own emergent patterns over time. Unlike typically linear processes of cause and effect, you will propagate wild forms of expression – dynamic marks, traces, notations and the like – that will emerge from the interplay of these synthetic modes, materials, and mediums with their environment.

An exotic host of base materials, electronics and mechanisms will be provided. If necessary, during the week you should also pillage the likes of the second-hand shops, toy stores, hardware stores, the recycling bins, the garbage, etc. There is no need to expend lavish amounts of capital – be inventive!

Pictured Above:
A photograph of an sound-material experiment by Hans Jenny - Spores of moss (lycopodium) form emergent clusters that rotate around their own axis, while the larger collection of clusters rotates around the central axis of the plate.