Berlin-based artist Harm van den Dorpel just released new online project Hybrid Vigor in early January, 2017.
The web-based work brings together elements of the biological and technological through an algorithmic system of shapes and lines, creating a feedback between the input and the software used. Often working between online and IRL exhibition spaces, Dorpel’s work explores randomly generated outcomes. Recent projects include Talking Turtles (2016) that looks at the relationship between visual graphics, software engineering and artificial intelligence, and Death Imitates Language (2016/17) where micro feedback (likes etc) would determine which works lived on.
The title Hybrid Vigor refers to the biological process of reproduction where “the tendency of a cross-bred individual [will] show qualities superior to those of both parents” or as the artist explains “the process of selecting candidates for breeding, examining the results, and using those results to further breed to eliminate or emphasise particular traits in animals and flowers.”
The project itself is constantly evolving over time, and changing depending on who visits the site, or whether no one visits the site. If there is no activity, the site will begin to navigate on its own. Gradual diversity and mechanical incest converge in generative aesthetics, explained further by Dorpel:
“Technically (or biologically), all properties of a drawing (angles, smoothness, shape, color, transparency, scale, position, etc.) are stored in a long string of 0s and 1s: a digital chromosome. These chromosomes hermetically define the appearance of each work (or specimen), just like how the genotype of human beings is defined by their DNA.”
When two drawings ‘mate’, their chromosomes align. The process is continual and repetitive to explore diversity in ‘offspring’ works as they inherit pieces of information (a form of DNA) from ‘ancestors’. The project is set within the context of algorithm and evolution, processes that feel both incredibly natural and unnatural. The publicly accessible project welcomes as many visitors as possible to participate in the slow and gradual project that will continue without ‘freeze’ over time.
Dorpel also worked in collaboration with Bill Kouligas and Amnesia Scanner in current project Lexachast where a live streaming of pictures from Flickr and DeviantArt are being uploaded and algorithmically filtered to show the most NSFW (Not Safe For Work; describes Internet that is generally inappropriate) images.**