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Morphogenetic Creations – Andy Lomas

Artist(s): Andy Lomas
Running Time: 13 June – 21 July 2016
Price: FREE
Certificate: All ages

This is a free event and open to all, so no ticket is required.

About this event


13 June – 21 July – Exhibition

15 June – Building the Bridge between Science and Art A Computer Arts Science Special Event, a lecture by Matthew Jarron

Why are things the way they are? And how do apparently random organic processes lead to beauty and even geometry?

Andy Lomas pursues these fascinations in his work. He takes inspiration from the way nature creates, mimicking these apparently random systems through algorithms in the computer world to create new forms.

The forms that result may seem alien or strangely familiar, disturbing or beautiful, evocative or eerie. And importantly they can make us rethink how we see design. Rather than starting with a vision, as with most design, here the process of creation itself leads to something completely new.

But these forms aren’t fixed. Just as in nature, tiny changes to the algorithm can produce huge changes in the outcome, resonant of similar changes in the natural world: the change in sea temperature or our own DNA.

And most simply, we are seeing here the beauty of the actual data being presented before us, as perhaps we’ve only started to imagine through the stories of the likes of Alan Turing.

The exhibition presents work from three different phases of the artist’s exploration with this cellular growth system: from the simplest structures ‘Cellular Forms’* and ‘Plantlike Forms’** to the more complex ‘Hybrid Forms’***.

The emergent structures are presented in a variety of techniques, from stereo vision, 3D printing and animated holographic imagery. 2D prints present the highest resolution of detail. Animated videos show the progression through different intermediate states as the structures grow.

Morphogenetic Creations is exploring the aesthetics of biology, rather than trying to repli-cate a scientifically accurate model or any specific forms in nature. Andy Lomas is bringing together familiar, but also unknown, alien structures in provocative new combinations that may echo biological forms.


Andy Lomas is a digital artist, mathematician, and Emmy award winning supervisor of computer generated effects. His morphogenetic creations explore how complex sculptural form can be created emergently by using digital technology to simulate growth processes. Inspired by the work of Alan Turing, D’Arcy Thompson and Ernst Haeckel, it exists at the boundary between art and science.

He has had work exhibited in over 50 joint and solo exhibitions, including SIGGRAPH, the Japan Media Arts Festival, the Ars Electronica Festival, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo and the ZKM. He has work in the D’Arcy Thompson Art Fund Collection, and was selected by Saatchi Online to contribute to a special exhibition in the Zoo Art Fair at the Royal Academy of Arts.

In 2014 Cellular Forms won The Lumen Prize Gold Award, as well as the Best Artwork Award from the A-Eye exhibition at AISB-50, and an Honorary Mention from the jury at the Ars Electronica Festival.

In 2015 Hybrid Forms was released as an invited exhibit for the European Conference on Artificial Life, where Andy Lomas was also invited to give one of the keynote presentations.

His production credits include Walking With Dinosaurs, Matrix: Revolutions, Matrix: Re-loaded, Over the Hedge, The Tale of Despereaux, Avatar, and he received Emmys for his work on The Odyssey (1997) and Alice in Wonderland (1999).

*Cellular Forms
These are the simplest structures. All the cell have identical properties, so in effect there’s just one cell type. Cells grow through accumulating nutrient, which is created by light rays coming in from a uniform light that illuminates the structures from all directions. Each photon of light hitting a cell generates some nutrient, and nutrient can also flow between adjacent cells. When a cell has accumulated enough nutrient it splits into two.

The Cellular Forms don’t have any bias in any particular direction, and they grow into shapes, which are roughly spherical. However, the surfaces of each form show different complex patterns of folding and stretching, with echoes that can range from pollen grain to reptile skin, fish scales, and internal organs such as brains or lungs.

**Plantlike Forms
In these structures the light rays that create nutrient are restricted to only coming from above. This simple change causes the structures to grow into more complex plant or fun-gus like forms as they grow upwards towards the light, with branching structures as well as complex surface patterns.

***Hybrid Forms
These introduce diversity by using two different cell types, with all the cells being given a blend between two extremes. When a new cell is born it inherits a proportion of the properties of its parent and a proportion of those of its immediate neighbours. This extremely simple form of cell differentiation results in much more complex structures, often reminiscent of early embryo growth, or multi-cellular organisms such as protozoa.

This is a free event and open to all, so no ticket is required.


Click here to find full details for those with access requirements.

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