Propagations, light robots as cellular automata


The basic mechanisms of artificial intelligence are still around, probably because there are still few real applications able to make a user think that a machine has some kind of “intelligence”. So “organic” qualities are not yet generally associated with digital machines. Cellular automata (a grid of cells changing their status depending on the combination of the cells in their neighborhood) is certainly a classic mechanism, often visually exploited by artists. Propagations by Leo Nunez, is an artwork based on cellular automata, but it explores different paths. It’s made by fifty robots with a turning light on the top. Users can interact with the robots using a luminous interface, and the whole system evolves via cellular automata rules. The robots are autonomous entities and their simple evolving algorithm is reinforcing this feeling once the spectators are close to them. Being a guest in this crowd of glowing mechanical machines, extremely sensitive to their neighborhood pairs and to light in general, is not an unknown condition for a human being: in the end he’s only a part of a bigger intelligent evolutionary process.