what is it that enables autonomous behavior? i find it fascinating that complex autonomous behavior may result from the interaction of very simple units and from the dynamics of interaction between such units. i explore the assembly of simple units into systems and the emergence of autonomous behavior both in artistic and in scientific research.

the simple units may be little overheadbots. overheadbots are small type 1 braitenberg vehicles based on the solar-engine circuit which can be interpreted as an integrate and fire neuron. they are placed on an overhead projector and powered by the light of the projector they physically interact, collide and give rise to ever changing moving patterns projected onto the wall.

the simple units may be digitally simulated neurons that interact and, when topographically organized, form dynamic neural fields. dynamic neural fields provide basic cognitive behaviors such as decision making, selection or working and long term memory. using dynamic neural field and interconnecting them in architectures allows for achieving quite complex beahvior such as object recognition, object tracking and sequential processing of a scene.

the simple units may be be timing and thresholding units, that interconnected into a ring (marc w. tilden’s microcore circuit) produce walking behavior. an analog robot may be built with just 12 electronic components and two motors. the installation lightseekers and the rhythm apparatus for the overhead projector are based on this principle.

the simple units may be spinning wheels driven by candles  based on the principle of the christmas pyramid and bimetallic balances that swing back and forth driven by a candle, which together form a kerzenlicht-kirmes, a magical little universe of interactions.

August 11, 2010