The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Generative art, creative coding, procedural design

teaching my computer to make better mistakes than me

Those names in order of decreasing highbrowness and increasing financial viability.

how to draw Doug.

Ruben Bolling knows evolutionary design when he sees it.

See also all the other related articles.

Either way, it means, more or less, “using algorithms to make pretty things.” If you’ve seen a CGI film in the last 20 years, you’ve seen this. Flocking, L-systems, agents, evolutionary systems, a-life, pattern formation and so on. My interest here reflects my High Art, pontifical sensibility. But video games are totes sick too.

Missing from here: prehistory of such art, early software art and pre-computer algorithmic art. Check out a better source such as Neil Jenkins’ excellent garden of forking paths for some pointers.

Examples of praxis


Praxis yourself why don’t you?

I praxis myself

Maybe I should also do generative art with neural networks.

General reading


Boden, M. A., & Edmonds, E. A.(2009) What is generative art?. Digital Creativity, 20(1-2), 21–46. DOI.
Boulanger-Lewandowski, N., Bengio, Y., & Vincent, P. (2012) Modeling Temporal Dependencies in High-Dimensional Sequences: Application to Polyphonic Music Generation and Transcription. In 29th International Conference on Machine Learning.
Bown, O. (2009) Ecosystem models for real-time generative music: A methodology and framework. . Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
Bown, O. (2011) Experiments in modular design for the creative composition of live algorithms. Computer Music Journal, 35(3), 73–85.
Bown, O., & McCormack, J. (2010) Taming nature: tapping the creative potential of ecosystem models in the arts. Digital Creativity, 21(4), 215–231. DOI.
Bown, O., McCormack, J., & Kowaliw, T. (2011) Ecosystemic methods for creative domains: Niche construction and boundary formation. In 2011 IEEE Symposium on Artificial Life (ALIFE) (pp. 132–139). DOI.
Brown, P. (2003) Generative computation and the arts. Digital Creativity, 14(1), 1–2. DOI.
Collins, N. (2006) Towards Autonomous Agents for Live Computer Music: Realtime Machine Listening and Interactive Music Systems.
Dorin, A., McCabe, J., McCormack, J., Monro, G., & Whitelaw, M. (2012) A framework for understanding generative art. Digital Creativity, 23(3-4), 239–259. DOI.
Garcia, R. A.(2001) Growing sound synthesizers using evolutionary methods. Proceedings of ALMMA 2002 Workshop on Artificial Models for Musical Applications, 99–107.
Hadsell, R., Chopra, S., & LeCun, Y. (2006) Dimensionality Reduction by Learning an Invariant Mapping. In 2006 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (Vol. 2, pp. 1735–1742). DOI.
Holtzman, S. R.(1981) Using Generative Grammars for Music Composition. Computer Music Journal, 5(1), 51–64. DOI.
Hornby, G. S., & Pollack, J. B.(2001) The advantages of generative grammatical encodings for physical design. In Proceedings of the 2001 Congress on Evolutionary Computation, 2001 (Vol. 1, pp. 600–607–1). DOI.
Jackendoff, R., & Lerdahl, F. (1981) Generative Music Theory and Its Relation to Psychology. Journal of Music Theory, 25(1), 45–90.
Lomas, A. (2014) Cellular forms: an artistic exploration of morphogenesis. In SIGGRAPH Studio (pp. 1–1).
Lutton, E. (2006) Evolution of fractal shapes for artists and designers. International Journal on Artificial Intelligence Tools, 15(04), 651–672. DOI.
Martin, A., & Bown, O. (2013) The agent designer toolkit. In Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition (pp. 386–387). ACM
McCormack, J. (2004) Generative modelling with timed L-systems. In Proceedings of the First International Conference on Design, Computing and Cognition (Vol. 4, pp. 157–175). Cambridge, USA: Kluwer Academic Publishers
McCormack, J. (2009) The Evolution of Sonic Ecosystems. In Artificial life models in software. Springer-Verlag New York Inc
McCormack, J. (n.d.) Enhancing Creativity with Niche Construction.
McCormack, J., & Bown, O. (2009) Lifes what you make: Niche construction and evolutionary art. Applications of Evolutionary Computing, 528–537.
McCormack, J., Bown, O., Dorin, A., McCabe, J., Monro, G., & Whitelaw, M. (2013) Ten Questions Concerning Generative Computer Art. Leonardo, 47(2), 135–141. DOI.
Monro, G. (2009) Emergence and Generative Art. Leonardo, 42(5), 476–477. DOI.
Rohrmeier, M. (2011) Towards a generative syntax of tonal harmony. Journal of Mathematics and Music, 5(1), 35–53. DOI.
Sorensen, A., & Gardner, H. (2010) Programming with time: cyber-physical programming with impromptu. In ACM Sigplan Notices (Vol. 45, p. 822). ACM Press DOI.
Steedman, M. J.(1984) A Generative Grammar for Jazz Chord Sequences. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2(1), 52–77. DOI.
Stiny, G., & Gips, J. (1971) Shape Grammars and the Generative Specification of Painting and Sculpture. In Proceedings of the Workshop on generalisation and multiple representation. Leicester: CiteSeerX
Whitelaw, M. (2003) Morphogenetics: generative processes in the work of Driessens and Verstappen. Digital Creativity, 14(1), 43–53. DOI.
Whitelaw, M. (2005) System stories and model worlds: A critical approach to generative art. Readme, 100, 135–154.
Whitelaw, M. (2006) Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life. . The MIT Press
Whitelaw, M. (2010) Space filling And Self-Constraint: Critical Case Studies in Generative Design. Architectural Theory Review, 15(2), 157–165. DOI.
Whitelaw, M., Guglielmetti, M., & Innocent, T. (2009) Strange ontologies in digital culture. Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 7(1), 4.