This is a video created by Jonathan McCabe, a generative artist and designer from Canberra, Australia. He creates these pieces by giving random values to pixels, usually between -1 and 1, and defines sets of rules that dictate how the pixels will respond to those around them and therefore morph to create these life-like, biological patterns.

OB_tile_0501 from McCabe’s Flickr

McCabe’s art touches on British mathematician Alan Turing who proposed that “naturally occurring patterns — things like the spots and stripes on animal fur — could arise from a random state of cells.” In addition, the states of these cells would also affect the neighboring cells, and create a domino effect, just as the pixels in McCabe’s work are part of a much bigger network and affect one another. Art like this fits into the realm of aleatoricism, which is “the incorporation of chance into the process of creation, especially the creation of art or media.”

I am really fascinated by the idea of letting art define itself and leaving things up to chance rather than controlling something to the point that it suffers and creativity is suffocated. In my own experience, I’ve sometimes felt the need to make my art “perfect.” However, I soon realized that the mistakes I made in the process of art-making were very interesting, and it became more enjoyable to embrace the imperfections than force the work to be something it’s not.

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