Curating The Week: Algorithms, Emergence, and Minimalism

An article on art and algorithms.

“Human creativity has always been a response to the immense strangeness of reality, and now its subject has evolved, as reality becomes increasingly codeterminate, and intermingled, with computation. If that statement seems extreme, consider the extent to which our fundamental perceptions of reality – from research in the physical sciences to finance to the little screens we constantly interject between ourselves in the world – have changed what it means to live, to feel, to know. As creators and appreciators of the arts, we would do well to remember all the things that Google does not know.”

An article on John Conway’s Game of Life.

“The Game of Life’s pulsing, pyrotechnic constellations are classic examples of emergent phenomena, introduced decades before that adjective became a buzzword. Fifty years later, the misfortunes of 2020 are the stuff of memes. The biggest challenges facing us today are emergent: viruses leaping from species to species; the abrupt onset of wildfires and tropical storms as a consequence of a small rise in temperature; economies in which billions of free transactions lead to staggering concentrations of wealth; an internet that becomes more fraught with hazard each year. Looming behind it all is our collective vision of an artificial intelligence-fueled future that is certain to come with surprises, not all of them pleasant.”

An article about minimalism.

“Minimalism’s fundamental ideas will remain as long as human civilization, because we never quite learn its lesson: What already exists immediately around us is more important than all of our anxieties about what’s not there yet. The imperfection of reality is perfect.”

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