Paul Brown: 4^16

  • ©, Paul Brown






    Realtime, onscreen art


Artist Statement:

    4^16 continues a program of work that I began in the 1960s. Around that time, under the influence of the European Systems Art movement, I began to think of the artwork as a generative process (for example, a series of instructions) that manifested it self in some tangible form. In 1968, I discovered computers and programming, and since 1974 these have been my primary working methodologies.

    Most of my time-based work over this period has used cellular automata to drive a permutative system based on tiling symmetry. These works often have vast internal spaces (4A16 is capable of generating 4,294,967,296 images), and the cellular automaton provides a mechanism for exploring this variety in a non-linear and non-repetitive way.

    The work also explores aspects of human cognition and, in particular, the ability to perceive and then interpret patterns in both structured and random visual data.

Technical Information:

    The image is composed of 16 tiles that can each be placed on one of four orientations, and the title of the work reflects this simplicity. In this implementation (and there are several; the work is essentially still in progress) the cellular automaton works on a system of “favourite” neighbors for which there is no perfect relationship.

    The work was originally made using Macromedia Director, but more recently it was recreated using Processing by Casey Reas and Ben Fry. In this latter instantiation, it is a lot more flexible, and I am able to work through new ideas and variations more easily.