Drawing on Complexity — Experimenta

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Briony Barr with Andrew Melatos
Drawing on Complexity (The Experimenta Series)



Drawing on Complexity (Experimenta Series) takes the form of a series of collaborative, rule-based artworks, enacted over the course of the Triennial. Part of a larger investigation into pattern formation, the works compare what emerges when different groups of people make a drawing together within a similar set of parameters. These parameters include using electrical tape as a medium, using the same sized area of floor as a drawing surface, running the session for the same number of hours, and working with the same set of compositional rules for individual and collaborative mark-making. The groups are sourced by participating galleries for each exhibition.

Inspired by complex adaptive systems and designed in collaboration with physicist, Andrew Melatos, this body of work uses expanded collaborative drawing to enact a process that evolves from the bottom up, in real time. Like the weather, stock market and crowds, complex systems exhibit ‘emergence’ – meaning that larger patterns in the system evolve through interactions between the parts (rather than from a predetermined plan or hierarchy of leadership). This is often described as ‘the whole being more than the sum of the parts’.

The rule-based drawing process is equal parts collaborative artwork, board game, team sport, science experiment and social experiment in which participants drive the outcome. Analogous to the design or programming of a game, the rules and boundaries set up by the artist determine conditions for an artwork to emerge, but not which artwork.

The Artist
Briony Barr

Briony Barr is a visual-conceptual artist who uses process-based drawing to explores ideas around structure, emergence and the role of different boundaries and generative limits.

Artwork Journey