OpenLab: The Real Game Of Life Project

5 Apr 2011

Openlab Workshops and SPACE Studios were excited to present a new type of collaborative workshop project.

Who: Artists, designers, fabricators, makers, hackers, sculptors, programmers, creative students, with skills to share and a passion for collaboration with other creatives.

Under the guidance of Openlab Workshops’ instructors, our team of chosen participants collaborated on an intricate work of art using all their diverse skills, based on an open brief. We provided a reasonable budget for materials and building costs and project space at SPACE Studios. Participants had a chance to add their skills to an interactive artwork that, when completed, was shown at SPACE Studios and then a variety of festivals. On top of that, there was no cost for participating in or applying to this workshop!

8 Tuesdays and Wednesdays from April-June:
5th April, 12 April, 19th April, 4th May, 18th May, 25th May, 1 June, 15th June

All participants were required to attend regular sessions at SPACE Studios in Hackney for planning, critiques from guest artists, and group work. The rest of the time participants were divided into small teams and worked independently, but had access to centralised resources at SPACE Studios.

The Brief (in brief):
Using pervasive technologies such as RFID, Twitter, Arduino, digital sound, and LED lighting, we created an ecosystem of little machines that live, grow, reproduce, communicate, and die with one another, based on Conway's classic Game of Life. Machines will need tending to by humans ("machine husbandry"), encouraging an evolutionary process of genetic algorithms embedded in the creatures. If left alone, the creatures will die of neglect and loneliness. By interacting with this small slice of digital ecology in a public exhibition, people can draw their own conclusions about our complex and interdependent relationship between technology and the "natural" world.