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Codeform and Fifty Sisters Presentations by Jon McCormack

You don’t have to be God to create life. In Deep Space, all it takes is a regular admission ticket. “Codeform” is a work by Jon McCormack (AU) who, during his stint as artist-in-residence at the Ars Electronica Futurelab, also created “Fifty Sisters” that’s on display in the Lobby. “Codeform” transforms any QR code into an artificial life form. A t

Public Engagement presentation by artist Jon McCormack. (Audio track only).

Jon McCormack (AU)
Ars Electronica Festival 2012
Do/Thu 30. 8. 18:30 – 19:00
Fr/Fri 31. 8. 13:00 – 13:30
Mo/Mon 3. 9. 12:30 – 13:00

You don’t have to be God to create life. In Deep Space, all it takes is a regular admission ticket. “Codeform” is a work by Jon McCormack (AU) who, during his stint as artist-in-residence at the Ars Electronica Futurelab, also created “Fifty Sisters” that’s on display in the Lobby. “Codeform” transforms any QR code into an artificial life form. A ticket code is scanned in on site and serves as a digital gene. Deep Space becomes an ecosystem in which the code morphs into an egg and then an embryo. It grows, matures, and begins to move.

“Fifty Sisters” were created during an artist-inresidence-stint at the Ars Electronica Futurelab. The work consists of 50 one-square-meter prints with plants produced on the computer. The forms of the digitally mutated plants are the logos of the seven large oil companies that, as the “Seven Sisters” cartel, controlled the oil industry until the energy crisis of the 1970s. “Fifty Sisters” thus uses multiple allusions: to the world economy’s dependency on oil, to the all-pervasiveness in everyday life of oil-based products like plastic, to the natural resource petroleum, and to environmental destruction on a massive scale caused by drilling and transporting oil.

Codefom is a real-time 3D stereoscopic work developed specifically for Deep Space in the Ars Electronica Centre. Visitors to Deep Space can use their museum entry tickets to generate the "DNA" of a virtual creature that grows and develops in an electronic ecosystem. The QR code on each ticket is used to generate an artificial life-form that is unique to each visitor. Each new life form develops from an egg that floats in a pool on the floor. After a short time the embryo develops and hatches, beginning to move around within Deep Space. Here the creature may join other creatures that have been created by previous visitors in a digital ecosystem. Creatures mate and create offspring. Some creatures may die and others survive, creating a dynamic environment unique to each group of visitors. The most adapted creatures live on until the next show, moving about the floor. A visitor who returns to a later show, can track the progress of their creature over evolutionary time and see how it has fared in the ecosystem and what it has evolved to become. While visually strange and electronic, the ecosystem of Codeform suggests a biophilia from the process and behaviours of the system.

Codeform is a reflection of popular concepts of genetics, it questions the influence of an individual in a collective society and the “codification” of the individual by technology. Inspired by the diminishing and changing relationship between natural and human-made environments, *Codeform* provides a glimpse into a new form of electronic nature.
After the festival, “Codeform” will be an ongoing feature at the Ars Electronica Center.

This project was developed in collaboration with the Ars Electronica Future Lab and with support from Monash University and the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project DP1094064) and is part of Studiolab funded by the EC Seventh Framework Programme. The Australian Artist-in-Residence program at the FutureLab was initiated and produced by Novamedia in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts and Ars Electronica.


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