The Computer Who Dreams

the-computer-that-dreamsIf only you could put your hands in your head and put those ideas straight onto paper. Well, Archy can, being a computer.

Archy is the product of a long process of seeking a way to really use computing to express ideas, not to simply simulate pencils and brushes. The results are images that astound many people who are so used to the coldness and sterility of much computer imagery. The secret comes from seeking the complexity that surrounds us in this universe – not a simple randomness, but a connectedness within variety and repetition – the rhythm of nature.

The artist, Gordon S Ackerman, becomes the eyes of his computer. He perceives the patterns and processes in the visual world that make reality the place we want to belong. He, being a scientist and computer scientist, has been able to express these ideas as a computer program. This program is then given free rein to work with these ideas. Often Archy’s images surprise its author but frequently they are true to reality and become the springboard for further development. It became such a partnership that the program had to have a name:

Archy – partly because he is not about anarchy, but order.

He is a visual exploration of chaos theory, a mathematical theory that produces seemingly random results that are in reality the product of an order so high that the order seems to disappear. As a science teacher, now headteacher, the artist has been passionate about communicating his sense of awe that science and maths opens up.

Having been the eyes and then handed over the process to Archy, the artist steps in again in selecting images and directing further exploration. Gordon feels that the act of surrendering control to the process is an important part of the work, but that coming back to select images is like becoming a photographer in a virtual world. A world where only the underlying processes are like our own, but everything else is different, is surprisingly familiar, with images full of resonances.

Gordon feels that he is just at the very beginning of an exploration, with so many paths opening from here. The exploration to date has included several series of quite different images in a variety of media from print to animation.

(This is the text from the flier from my first exhibition)

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