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An ongoing series of books that design themselves, computationally generating printed matter that self-publishes via print-on-demand services, self-propagating using existing and emerging market systems
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An ongoing series of books that design themselves, computationally generating printed matter that self-publishes via print-on-demand services, self-propagating using existing and emerging market systems.

Exhibited at:
CultureHub Re-Fest 2020, March 12–14
The Downstairs at La Mama, New York City
The Vortex, Los Angeles

Live streams here.
Featured in New York Magazine.
Story highlights here.

More images: March 13A, March 13B, March 14A, March 14B, March 15A, March 15B.

"Von Neumann's goal was to specify an abstract machine which, when run, would replicate itself. In his design, the machine consists of three parts: a 'blueprint' for itself, a mechanism that can read any blueprint and construct the machine (sans blueprint) specified by that blueprint, and a 'copy machine' that can make copies of any blueprint. After the mechanism has been used to construct the machine specified by the blueprint, the copy machine is used to create a copy of that blueprint, and this copy is placed into the new machine, resulting in a working replication of the original machine. Some machines will do this backwards, copying the blueprint and then building a machine." ¹

Universal Constructors is an ongoing series of books that design themselves, an exercise in instruction-based systems and objects. In this version, custom code using the open source Javascript library basil.js controls the popular page design and layout tool Adobe InDesign, computationally generating printed matter that self-publishes via print-on-demand services.

"The ability to achieve open-ended evolution lies in the fact that, just as in nature, errors (mutations) in the copying of the genetic tape can lead to viable variants of the automaton, which can then evolve via natural selection." ²

"In this model, culture spreads like the surface of a body of water, spreading towards available spaces or trickling downwards towards new spaces through fissures and gaps, eroding what is in its way. The surface can be interrupted and moved, but these disturbances leave no trace, as the water is charged with pressure and potential to always seek its equilibrium, and thereby establish smooth space." ²

Von Neumann’s abstract machine “preceded the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule by Watson and Crick and how it is separately translated and replicated in the cell.” ¹

DNA translation and replication, how it propagates, mutates, evolves, could be considered one of the first examples of executable poetry; sublime, self-referential and recursive.



In Universal Constructors 1.0, objects that design themselves manifest as printed matter. In version 2.0, this can extend to other mediums and forms in the physical world. Equally interesting to me are the methods in which the objects self-propagate by using existing and emerging market systems.


Installation
Digital Media
Software
Printed Matter


Language & Communication
Labor & Consumption
Internet & Networks
Memory & Personal History
Data & Surveillance

¹ “Von Neumann Universal Constructor.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Oct. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_universal_constructor

² “Rhizome (philosophy)“ Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Aug. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome_(philosophy)

Assets to be available on Are.na.

All projects ↴
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Updated ↴
2021 Oct 26 06:24:43 UTC, CC-BY-SA International, Andrew Chee.

https://andrewchee.com
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