Evolutionary art

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Artificial Evolution of the Cyprus Problem (2005) is an artwork created by Genco Gulan

Evolutionary art is created using a computer. The process starts by having a population of many randomly generated individual representations of artworks. Each representation is evaluated for its aesthetic value and given a fitness score. The individuals with the higher fitness scores have a higher chance of remaining in the population while individuals with lower fitness scores are more likely to be removed from the population. This is the evolutionary principle of Survival of the fittest. The survivors are randomly selected in pairs to mate with each other and have offspring. Each offspring will also be a representation of an art work with some inherited properties from both of its parents. These offspring will then be added to the population and will also be evaluated and given a fitness score. This process of evaluation, selection and mating is repeated for many generations. Sometimes mutation is also applied to add new properties or change existing properties of a few randomly selected individuals. Over time the pressure from the fitness selection generally causes the evolution of more aesthetic combinations of properties that make up the representations of the artworks.

An image generated using an evolutionary algorithm

Evolutionary art is a branch of Generative art, which system is characterized by the use of evolutionary principles and natural selection as generative procedure. It distinguishes from BioArt by its medium dependency. If the latter adapts a similar project with carbon-based organisms, Evolutionary Art evolves silicon-based systems.

In common with natural selection and animal husbandry, the members of a population undergoing artificial evolution modify their form or behavior over many reproductive generations in response to a selective regime.

In interactive evolution the selective regime may be applied by the viewer explicitly by selecting individuals which are aesthetically pleasing. Alternatively a selection pressure can be generated implicitly, for example according to the length of time a viewer spends near a piece of evolving art.

Equally, evolution may be employed as a mechanism for generating a dynamic world of adaptive individuals, in which the selection pressure is imposed by the program, and the viewer plays no role in selection, as in the Black Shoals project.

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