Karl Sims

Karl Sims is referred to as one of the pioneers of evolutionary computing. He became known through his video animation “Panspermia” from 1990, his in­novative and still-impressing work “Genetic Images” from 1993, and “Evolved Virtual Creatures” (1994), for which he had already described the basic struc­tures in 1991 [199]. In 1997, he presented another aesthetic conversion of

Chapter 12 the interaction principle of “Genetic Images” at ICC, the Intercommunication Media Art Center in Tokyo, with the installation “Galapagos”.

Karl Sims does not really see himself as an artist or a scientist, but rather as a researcher in both disciplines. He works in science in order to arrive at new visual aesthetics, which could not be reached using analytic-synthetic ways: “Using the computer, you can go past the complexity we could otherwise han­dle; you can go beyond equations we can even understand. It is his goal to make complexity without having to understand it” [60].

Karl SimsBesides worldwide exhibitions, he has published his results in numerous re­nowned scientific magazines. Karl Sims studied computer graphics at MIT Media Lab, and life sciences in MIT. As “artist in residence” with Thinking Machines in Cambridge, he had access to highly parallel computer systems, with which he created the animation “Panspermia” (with the Connection Ma­chine 2), and “Evolved Virtual Creatures” (Connection Machine 5). The in­stallation “Genetic Images” was shown in 1993 in the Centre Georges Pom­pidou on a Connection Machine with 32,768 processors. During the work on the video animation “Panspermia” he saw himself confronted with the task of modeling an immensely large number of plants. This gave him the idea to change the plants automatically by variation of the parameter sets of the pro­ducing algorithms. The necessity for an aesthetic selection led automatically to the principle of mutation and aesthetic selection, which became the topic and technology for his work in the following years.