The void series – generative art using regulatory genes

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Gary Greenfield: The void series – generative art using regulatory genes. In: Soddu, C. (ed.) Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference and Exhibition on Generative Art, Generative Art 2004, Alea Design, vol. 1, pp. 70–77 (2004).



We apply a gene regulator model to aggregations of cells in order to generate a series of two-dimensional abstract art works titled “The Void Series”. Images in “The Void Series” arise from grids consisting of two different types of cells. Cells in the grid undergo a period of morphological development following which concentrations of three of their four so-called transcription factors are interpreted as RGB color components in order to create a finished piece. Cell morphogenesis is governed by both a gene regulatory network and interactions among neighboring cells. By initially activating only the outermost cells of the grid, and by controlling for the length of time that cells are allowed to develop, we obtain an inward spiral of alive cells surrounding an inner core of dormant cells. This means an activation boundary is always present. The activation boundary reveals the changes that occur within individual cells as they undergo morphological development and symbolizes the extent to which we understand morphogenesis, while the inner void symbolizes the extent to which we do not understand morphogenesis. A genetic algorithm is used to evolve and select those images offering the greatest aesthetic impact.

Extended Abstract


Used References

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[9] L. Feijs, Divisions of the plane by computer: another way of looking at Mondrian's nonfigurative compositions, Leonardo, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2004, 217-222.


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