Antoine Schmitt, 2000
Autonomous and interactive series online
“They are slient creatures, struggling against their environment, which we are part of.”
This space is dedicated to my ongoing research around this notion. I use it as an immediate exhibition space, in which I show the creatures as soon as they are achieved. And so as not to overload the space, I remove the oldests.
The basis of my work is as follows: I create a body, constituted of fragments of images, usually minimal. I immerse this body in a physical universe, mainly made of a rectangular space, which the body cannot leave (a box), and in which reigns a gravity force which drags the bodies towards the bottom. This physical world, a set of mathematical equations, is embodied here in algorithms which continually act on the bodies immersed inside it.
Once this body and this physical universe are put in place, I give the body muscles, which are forces that act on the elements of the body relatively to each other. These forces are also embodied (implemented) in algorithms acting in the instant, in real time.
Finally, I provide the creature with motivation, that is of a force which pilots the muscles and makes it move towards a certain goal. For example, standing up. This motivation, which is also implemented with an algorithm, activates the muscles according to the shift between the goal and the perception that the creature has of its own position and movement (kinesthesy), following a principle known in cybernetics as predictive teleology by negative feedback.
This motivation force acts toward a very well determined goal and with clearly defined rules, but the muscles do not always work well, the joints shivers sometimes randomly, the muscles get tired, the motivation declines or raises, the prediction is sometimes wrong and the kinesthesy is not always perfect. These imperfections themselves are programmed, using random coeficients being triggered at random moments.
These defaults, as well as the opposition between the goal and the physical constraints (the box, gravity) plunge the creature in an endless struggle, of which we are the helpless spectators. All the more helpless as the slightest movement we make (with the mouse) moves the whole universe, that is the box in which the creature is placed, perturbating it even more.
For each of these creatures, I try to approach a certain essence of being. A mode of being of different quality for each of them. And for this, I concentrate on their dynamics, their movement, on the shapes that take their motivation in their reality. The function of the image is to enable us to apprehend their mode of being. The interaction itself is only a minimal link between their reality and ours. For each of these creatures, its presence, if it manifests itself, derives from a subtle relationship between the motivation and the shapes and forces of the randomness, of the body and of the universe.
I hope that this visit will give you the desire to come back.”
Antoine Schmitt, May 2000.