Uninnocent Bystander
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2019

For the solo exhibition Uninnocent Bystander, Harm van den Dorpel presents his newest iteration of works that explore the dynamics of algorithmic architectures.
In this extended work, initially labelled “Death Imitates Language”, a set of originary images are combined and recombined via a genetic algorithm to generate new sets of “descendant” images. The latest “generation” of images was birthed as a result of tinkering by Van den Dorpel with the underlying combinatorial algorithm. To overcome the size restrictions imposed by creating works using a linear chromosome as a primary reference point (which is how genetics function in nature), Van den Dorpel turned to a hierarchical form of organization which he encountered in the analysis of natural human language.
To create the newest series the artist borrowed from what is known as “Cartesian Genetic Programming”. CGP allows for programming code to mutate, in order to create a broad variation among many syntactically valid, and potentially meaningful, programmes. This technology from 1999 has mostly been superseded by neural networks, which power today’s most powerful artificial intelligence.

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