Jon McCormack


Colourfield Lux


Colourfield Lux is a new iteration of Colourfield (2009/2010), a generative ecosystem of artificial life agents that form symbiotic and stigmergic relationships based on their perceived colour.

Originally inspired by scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis – that organisms and their environment form a synergistic, self-regulating and self-supporting complex system – Colourfield creates an ever-changing, miniature model world of relationships based on individual colour. Over long periods of evolution, the simulation displays many of the features of real ecosystems: symbiosis, co-dependency, mimicry and predator-prey relationships. In this new iteration of the work, real environmental dependencies are introduced into the virtual simulation. Light and colour are sensed from the environment immediately in front of the work, which feeds back into the virtual ecosystem. Changing colour forces the agents to become adaptive to both their simulated and real environments. The evolutionary adaptive nature of the simulation allows the work to display complex dynamics over long time periods, rewarding extended engagement. It generates a self-renewing, never-ending and never-repeating sequence through its internal logic that is directed by the environment in which it operates, and so is unique to any environment.

A circular screen surrounded by a black frame hangs on a wall like a discrete painting. However, this painting is always ‘looking back’ at the viewer and responding to them over time. Colourfield Lux forms a mediation on technology, the environment, the self, and the connection between them.

generative computer installation

40 x 40 x 5 cm

duration infinite

Jon McCormack is an Australian-based artist working at the nexus of art, technology and society. His experimental practice is driven by an enduring interest and research in computing. McCormack is a hybrid artist whose creative practice emerges from an amalgam of education pathways, with an Honours degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, a Graduate Diploma of Art (Film and Television) and a PhD in Computer Science.
McCormack’s practice incorporates generative art, sound, evolutionary systems, computer creativity, visualisation, virtual reality, interaction design, physical computing, machine learning, L-systems and developmental models. Inspired by the complexity and wonder of the natural world, his work is concerned with electronic ‘after natures’: alternate forms of artificial life which, due to unfettered human progress and development, may one day replace a lost biological nature. He is currently the director of SensiLab at Monash University in Melbourne.

Graphic representation courtesy the artist © the artist