Reality is not always probable

2021 – ongoing

Form and system that produced the object are entangled. So much of our life today revolves around how computers think, what they predict and prescribe. Computers and our vision of what technology does, how it works and what it looks like has defined what turns out to be a very narrow vision of intelligence, effectiveness and being in this world. 

One of the most common misconceptions is that complex events arise from complex interactions, rules and systems. In reality, the more rules a system has, the more predictable and constrained it is. 

Complex events, phenomena or behaviours often⁠ emerge from simplicity, simple rules, simple starting points. This is true for wether we look at natural, artificial or virtual phenomena. 

Through the process of making, here by laying out plastic playing dice by following simple rules, these often deliberately obscured digital processes become visible. 

The simple rules, or algorithm, used to produce these objects finds its origins in self-described philosophical mathematician John H Conway and his 1970 cult classic cellular automaton called ‘Game of life’, as well as his intellectual predecessor John von Neumann who, in the 1940s, set out to unriddle self-replicating systems by attempting to create a robot building another robot. 

In ‘Life’ a grid of cells transform according to simple rules from which a mosaic of meandering growths and unpredictable patterns emerge. A simple game, it paved the way for modelling the behaviours of ants, traffic and entire populations; evolution, artificial intelligence, clouds, galaxies, and beyond. 

Emblematic to the fallacies of contemporary technology and modernity’s entanglement with a computable world, ‘Life’ is in fact a zero-player game. It needs no input from its human players beyond the starting point. One interacts with it only by creating an initial configuration, then only observes how it evolves…