The Cybernetic Aquarium


A traditional household aquarium is an encapsulated alien world brought into our living room, providing us with a mix of tranquility and fascination. The Cybernetic Aquarium uses the aquarium motif to explore an equally alien world, an abstract cosmos of algorithms, and mathematical objects which, when given proper conditions, can provide us with an alternative version of biological creatures.

Primordial Soup

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This aquarium houses primitive silicon-based life forms comprised of basic graphic elements: point, line, circle, and color. Points, shown as tiny circles, jiggle randomly. Lines move straight ahead, swaying rhythmically as they go, bouncing off the edge. Translucent colored circles pulse and lazily pursue each other. A black circle inside of a white one becomes, in our anthropomorphic gaze, an eye, or even a conscious observer. When points and lines cross paths, they hook up to create animated molecules, which may in turn get snagged by the watchful eyeball creatures that patrol the area. As colored circles overlap, they create new colors, but do not interact with the other species.

An aquarium is generally outfitted with decorative elements that create the effect of its being a microcosm of an alien world. This cybernetic aquarium has a dramatic seascape backdrop, along with a few artfish bobbing along (borrowed from Paul Klee’s 1925 painting “Fish Magic”).

For more detailed explication see here (PDF)

V. 2.0 - Microbiota

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In this version, “swimmers” have a rudimentary genetic capability which can generate a variety of limbs. Their social interactions consist of chasing each other around in endlessly entertaining ways. “Wavers” provide a pleasant background accompaniment. For more information, see here (PDF)