Looking Outwards #1

by areuter @ 7:01 am 13 January 2010

Electric Sheep

Electric Sheep by Scott Draves is an interesting interactive piece which reminds me of Karl Sims’ Evolved Virtual Creatures.    The “Electric Sheep” are high resolution fractal animations that are collectively rendered on all “sleeping” computers which have the program installed, and they are then displayed as screen savers.  The interesting part is that users can actually vote on the animations with the arrow keys, which evolves the fractal into something that is perceived as beautiful by the collective user base.  Furthermore, the “genome” of these beautiful “sheep” are then merged withe those of other popular “sheep” of the past to hopefully evolve the animation into a fractal even better then it’s predecessors.


I downloaded the program to try it out, but unfortunately I didn’t have much luck with it.  A message informs you that the first :sheep” will probably take a few seconds to appear, but may take as long as a few hours.  I left it running on my computer overnight and awoke to firewall errors instead of pretty pictures, and half and hour after resolving them I still don’t see anything–since the program is render intensive, I’m wondering if my old computer just doesn’t have enough power to run it. It’s too bad since I was really hoping to mess around with it and observe how the evolution process occurs, particularly if my inputs had any visible effect on the “sheep”.  I’ll check back on it tonight to see if any “sheep” have appeared yet…

1 Comment

  1. Scott’s an alum of cmu, who comes through town occasionally. Have you seen his piece in the Gates building?

    FWIW, check out this processing fractal, which uses some similar techniques to Scott’s work (e.g. logarithmic density maps..)

    Comment by golan — 18 January 2010 @ 5:20 am

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