Computation, Emergence, and the Game of Life
May 29, 2019
About the workshop
The Game of Life is a cellular automaton developed by the mathematician John Conway in 1970. The game involves selecting a set of initial board positions and letting the system evolve based on some very simple rules. The game illustrates how complex behavior can emerge from a very simple system. It provides a great introduction to the concept of emergence as used in generative art systems and artificial life systems. It is very easy to understand and implement. It is a lot of fun to play with and provides endless opportunities for insight. The philosopher, Daniel Dennett, says: “In my opinion, every philosophy student should be held responsible for an intimate acquaintance with the Game of Life. It should be considered an essential tool in every thought- experimenter’s kit, a prodigiously versatile generator of philosophically important examples and thought experiments of admirable clarity and vividness.” You can read more about the Game of Life at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life.
In this workshop, we will use the Processing programming environment to implement a version of the game. The instructor will lead the class through each step in the process of building the program. This exercise will be perfect for those who have already had an introduction to programming and are looking for an interesting but manageable project. At the end of the workshop, each participant will have a fully-working version of the program. Though most of our time will be spent on programming a version of the Game of Life, we will also explore a bit of the theory of cellular automata, and if time permits, we will explore some of the philosophical implications of the program we have created.
Participants should bring a laptop with Processing installed. The Processing environment is available free at https://www.processing.org/. It will be assumed that all participants have some elementary programming experience. For those who have some experience with other environments, but no experience with Processing, we recommend the Fuse Factory Introduction to Processing for Programmers workshop. If you are unable to attend this workshop, the Getting Started tutorial at https://www.processing.org/tutorials/gettingstarted/ and the Processing Overview tutorial at https://www.processing.org/tutorials/overview/ will provide the basics you need.
About the Instructors
Michael Perkins, Ph.D. is a technologist, musician and philosopher with special interests in discrete mathematics, data science, and algorithmic music and art. He is a graduate of Georgia State University where he studied music and philosophy and The Ohio State University where he studied philosophy and computer science. He completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at The Ohio State University in 1983. For 35 years, Michael has developed advanced software systems for some of the world’s leading software vendors. He has designed and implemented special-purpose programming languages, data management tools, application generators, cross-platform networking software, and IT systems management software.
To reserve a seat in the workshop, please register using one of the links below:
June 2019 Frequency Fridays: Onyx Ashanti (DET) + Saatjak (DET) + Jed James (CMH) w/Phil Liddell (CMH)
June 07, 2019
Our June 2019 Frequency Fridays show features musician/maker/open source advocate/inventor of beatjazz Onyx Ashanti (DET), art rock group Saatjak (DET), and electronic musician/producer Jed James (CMH). Accompanying James on visuals is Columbus-based digital projection artist Phil Liddell. Date: Friday, June 7th 2019. Location: 13 E. Tulane Rd. 43202. Admission: $10 for one, $15 for two. Doors open 8pm. All ages, BYOB. Our Frequency Fridays 2018-2019 season is supported by grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Columbus Foundation.
About the artists:
Onyx Ashanti is designing a process for reprogramming himself utilizing his own musical comprehension and sound design, which he calls Sonocybernetics. He believes that musical comprehension of information, grafted into “sonomorphic” structures built within PureData, a Digital signal processing language, will result in thought forms that are more capable of representing higher order thought resonances; a new kind of imagination where thoughts are transduced into data-music, called Metabit and capable of projecting information that is simultaneously understandable as human musical structure and computer data.
Channeling the textural experimentalism of electronic music, the catharsis of tragic opera, the growl of punk rock, and the urgency of polymetric grooves, saajtak “smelts its sonic influences into a maelstrom almost orchestral in nature and theatrical in its depth” (Sonic Circuits, Washington, D.C.) With a repertoire of compositions that range from complex epic forms to short frenetic noise pieces and a heavy incorporation of improvisation, the quartet is constantly developing environments that defy genre and the traditional roles of each instrument. This vastness of influence and appeal is evident in the diversity of acts they have shared the stage with, including Xiu Xiu, Gaelynn Lea, Vicky Chow, New Music Detroit, Laurie Amat, Alec Redfearn and the Eyesores, Alan Licht, and more. The Detroit-based ensemble was formed in late 2014 by vocalist Alex Koi, electronic artist Simon Alexander-Adams, drummer Jon Taylor, and bassist Ben Willis. Each member is an avid composer, improviser, and performer. Individually, the members of saajtak have performed with My Brightest Diamond, Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Liebman, Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso, Michael Formanek, Jaribu Shahid, the members of Wolf Eyes, and more. Together, the ensemble of friends shares an affinity for experimental music and sound art and creates truly one-of-a-kind work.
Jed James aka Paul Maul is a painter, producer, DJ & founding member of the Midwest Fresh crew in Columbus Ohio.
On the evening of Saturday, June 8th we are proud to present Pittsburgh-based performance art trio P O S T • V I V O (Samir Gangwani/Adrienne Cassell/Austin Marcus), with experimental percussionist Troy Kunkler (CMH) and experimental electronic musician/composer Owen Hopper (Cincy). Doors 7:30, BYOB, all ages. $5-$10.
About the artists:
Samir Gangwani (b. 1995, Clemmons, NC) is a composer, performer, installation artist, and software designer. Gangwani’s work has been featured at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Queens Museum, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Pittsburgh Filmmakers & Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Future Tenant, Bunker Projects, and the Glitter Box Theater. They completed a Student-Defined Major in Experimental Composition and Performance at Carnegie Mellon University.
Adrienne Cassell is working at the intersection of 3d digital art, emerging tech, sound, and performance art. Adrienne makes work about radicalized autonomy and femininity in virtual and physical spaces through audiovisual narratives and performance of a preconceived future.
Austin Marcus, who performs solo under the moniker of Xylantha, is a synesthetic tinkerer on the brink of meditative mayhem, or apostasy, or tranquility.
Troy Kunkler is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, percussionist, and music educator. Classically trained in percussion and music theory, Troy is at home playing multiple genres and instruments. You will find him in recording sessions and live music experiences with bands who play punk rock, swing jazz, funk, soul, folk, blues, and orchestral music. His creative, emotive, and supportive style serves to enhance every form of music that he plays.
Owen Hopper is a Cincinnati Ohio based composer, sound artist, guitarist, computer programmer, and improviser. His music explores the relationships between the space it is recorded and presented in.
On the evening of Sunday, July 14th we are proud to present Detroit-based drummer/composer/producer/improviser Matt Daher, with improvising double bass and percussion duo Adam Lion + Matt Nelson (TN) and electronic musician/producer Dr. Zapata (CMH). Doors 7:30, BYOB, all ages. $5-$10.
About the artists:
Matthew Daher is a drummer, composer, producer, and improviser based in Detroit, MI. His creative endeavors and practices are driven by gnostic curiosity and are a vehicle for ontological exploration. His performance and composition work covers a wide range of sonic territory that includes ambient, electroacoustic, free jazz, hip-hop, and folk.
Matt Nelson + Adam Lion are a non-idiomatic improvising double bass and percussion duo from a burgeoning experimental music scene in Knoxville that is merging contemporary concert music, noise, jazz and free improvisation- an inevitable civic consequence from hosting Big Ears. Reevaluating what it means to be an “instrumentalist,” and to perform “together,” the duo explores various themes including sound attainment, unconventional performance techniques, and spontaneity. They are regular performers at the Pilot Light (Knoxville,) and have also been featured at the FMRL series (Nashville,) and the Magic Lantern (Atlanta.) Their recording “Observations” will be released through the Park70 label early this year.
Dr. Zapata (Isain Zapata) has been producing and releasing music since 2014 on multiple labels such as Far Down Records (Portugal), Evoked Recordings (USA), Disciple of Groove (Spain), Kalah Recordings (Italy) among others. Dr. Zapata creates music as an expression of emotions across many music genre, his music incorporates rhythmic elements that create a fun groove with melodic parts that evoke a multitude of emotions; a balance of fun and beauty. Unlike the typical bio you have read before, Dr. Zapata did not start showing off his musical talents when he was still a fetus, he did not get his first piece of equipment when he was in pre-k, he is not the son of a recognized musician, he did not get influenced at an early age by a prodigious artist. Dr. Zapata’s introduction to music was painful and dull. He developed a fairly irrelevant musical taste, comprised basically by the commercial material that were floating around on the radio waves with further reinforcement by close friends with similarly irrelevant musical taste. Several years passed until one night, in the middle of a dance floor in a crowded club, he felt for the first time the sound, the lights and the vibrations on the floor generated by a talented DJ. From that day, all changed, up to his incursion as a producer. Dr. Zapata’s tracks are composed to challenge listeners, genere is optional.