by ppm @ 10:49 pm 11 January 2011

Electric Sheep is a distributed computing project by Scott Draves (PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon) generating a continuous fractal animation. Users anywhere can contribute their computers to the effort, view the results in real-time, and select their favorite patterns to be favored in the genetic evolution of future “sheep”.

The project amazes me aesthetically and technically–the way simple rules, when iterated, produce landscapes too vast and too volatile to ever be quite grasped by human senses.

The project succeeds in all it attempts. The functionality of audience-selected patterns connects users around the world in wordless visual play. By using viewer’s personal computing devices, it reveals the power available to us in consumer technology. However, it stops short of extending into the real world. Once we step away from the computer, the ongoing parade becomes invisible to us; we can only experience it with the help of our digital prosthetics.

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