Emergence in Depth

  • Jennifer SeevinckEmail author
Part of the Springer Series on Cultural Computing book series (SSCC)


The preceding chapters have provided a foundation for emergence in interactive art. In this chapter the interested reader will find an expansion of the theoretical discussions presented in Chap.  2, facilitating insight into some of the debates and concerns surrounding emergence. As well as theoretical, however, the focus of this discussion is also illustrative and pragmatic, its aim being to find a useful understanding of emergence in the context of interactive art. I will begin with the challenge of explaining emergence. This involves reviewing reductionist through to deterministic and complex systems approaches. Digital art and computational models for emergence are also presented. The processes of perception that inform how we see are then reviewed. These can help us understand how designers perceive emergent shapes, as well as creative, visual thinking more generally. There is still much to understand when it comes to creative,perceptual emergence perceptual emergence and the physical emergence of our complex, natural world, but the application of deep understandings of emergence to interactive art experiences will move enquiry forward.


Visual Feature Visual Working Memory Artificial Life Emergent Effect Emergent Phenomenon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Akin O, Suwa M, Tversky B (1997) What do architects and students perceive in their design sketches? A protocol analysis. Des Stud 18:385–403. doi: 10.1016/S0142-694X(97)00008-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Animatrix (2015) Reaction diffusion VOP node.
  3. Bar-Yam Y (2002) General features of complex systems. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems EOLSS. UNESCO Publishers, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. Bedau MA (1997) Weak Emergence. Philosophical Perspectives: Mind, Causation and World 11:375–399Google Scholar
  5. Bedau MA (2008) Is weak emergence just in the mind? Mind Mach 18:443–459. doi: 10.1007/s11023-008-9122-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bergson H (1978) In: The New Encyclopaedia Britannica in 30 Volumes, 15th edn. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., pp 843–845Google Scholar
  7. Bohlen T (2016) Langtons’ Ant software model.
  8. Cariani P (1991) Emergence and artificial life. In: Langton CG, Taylor C, Farmer JD, Rasmussen S (eds) Proceedings of the workshop on artificial life II. Addison-Wesley, USA, USA, pp 775–797Google Scholar
  9. Crutchfield JP (2003) What lies between order and chaos? In: Casti J, Karlqvist A (eds) Art and complexity. Elsevier Science, pp 31–45Google Scholar
  10. Darley V (1994) Emergent Phenomena and Complexity. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Artificial Life IV. USAGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidson K, Hermanovic G (1998) Houdini. Side Effects Software, Toronto, Canada
  12. Dietz S (2002) Ten dreams of technology. Leonardo, The MIT Press 35:509–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edmonds EA (1995) Creativity: interacting with computers (panel discussion). In: Edmonds EA, Katz I, Mack R, et al. (eds) CHI’95 conference on human factors in computing systems. SIGCHI: ACM special interest group on computer-human interaction. ACM Press, Denver, USA, pp 185–186Google Scholar
  14. Emmeche C, Køppe S, Stjernfelt F (1997) Explaining emergence towards an ontology of levels. J Gen Philos Sci 28:83–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fry B, Raes C (2001) Processing. Aesthetics and Computation Research group at MIT Media Lab,
  16. Gao S, Mohamed M, Saxena N, Zhang C (2015) Emerging image game CAPTCHAs for resisting automated and human-solver relay attacks. Proceedings of the 31st annual computer security applications conference. ACM Press, Los Angeles, USA, pp 11–20Google Scholar
  17. Gero JS (1996) Creativity, emergence and evolution in design. Knowl Based Syst 9:435–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hanes DM, Anderson RS, Hoagman W (2016) Why do regular, wavelike shapes form when the wind blows over the sand on the beach for a long time? And what determines the spacing (frequency) of these waves? In: Scientific American’s ask the experts: the environment. Macmillan Publishers LtdGoogle Scholar
  19. Hornby GS, Pollack JB (2001) Evolving L-systems to generate virtual creatures. Comput Graphics 25:1041–1048. doi: 10.1016/S0097-8493(01)00157-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kim C-H, Kim S-J, Kim S-K, Kang S-J (2015) Real-time visual effects for game programming, 2015 edn. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  21. Langton CG (1987) Artificial life. In: Langton CG, Taylor C, Farmer JD, Rasmussen S (eds) Proceedings of the workshop on artificial life I. Addison-Wesley, Los Alamos, USA, pp 1–47Google Scholar
  22. Laughlin RB, Pines D (2000) The theory of everything. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (PNAS) 97:28–31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.97.1.28 MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lee KJ, McCormick WD, Ouyang Q, Swinney HL (1993) Pattern formation by interacting chemical fronts. Science 261:192–194. doi: 10.1126/science.261.5118.192 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mandelbrot B (1982) The fractal geometry of nature, 1st edn. W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, USAzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  25. Mccormack J (1993) Interactive evolution of l-system grammars for computer graphics modelling. Complex Syst. From Biol. Comput. 118–130Google Scholar
  26. McCormack J (1994) Turbulence: an interactive installation exploring artificial lifeGoogle Scholar
  27. McCormack J (2004a) Generative modelling with timed L-Systems. In: Gero JS (ed) Design computing and cognition’04. Springer, Netherlands, pp 157–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McCormack J (2004b) Impossible nature: the art of Jon McCormack: Jon Mccormack. Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  29. McCormack J, Dorin A (2001) Art, emergence, and the computational sublime. Proceedings of the second international conference on generative systems in the electronic arts. Centre for Electronic Media Art (CEMA), Victoria, Australia, pp 67–81Google Scholar
  30. Mill JS (1889) On the composition of causes. In: A system of logic ratiocinative and inductive being a connected view of the principles of evidence and the methods of scientific investigation, Peoples edn. Longmans, Green & Co., London, England, pp 242–247Google Scholar
  31. Mitchell WJ (1993) A computational view of design creativity. In: Gero JS, Maher ML (eds) Modeling creativity and knowledge-based creative design. Laurence Erlbaum Associates Inc., Hillsdale, USA, pp 25–42Google Scholar
  32. Mitra NJ, Chu H-K, Lee T-Y, et al (2009) Emerging images. In: ACM SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 papers. ACM, New York, USA, pp 163:1–163:8Google Scholar
  33. Nagel E (1961) The doctrine of emergence. The structure of science problems in the logic of scientific explanation. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London, England, pp 366–380Google Scholar
  34. Dictionaries Oxford (2010) Reductionism. Oxford University Press, UKGoogle Scholar
  35. Pearson JE (1993) Complex patterns in a simple system. Science 261:189–192. doi: 10.1126/science.261.5118.189 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Penny S, Schulte J (1995) Sympathetic Sentience, artworkGoogle Scholar
  37. Poon J, Maher ML (1996) Emergent behaviour in co-evolutionary design. Artificial intelligence in design. Springer, Netherlands, pp 703–722Google Scholar
  38. Prusinkiewicz P, Hammel M, Hanan J, Mech R (1996) L-Systems: from the theory to visual models of plants. In: Michalewicz M (ed) Proceedings of the 2nd CSIRO symposium on computational challenges in life sciences. CSIRO PublishingGoogle Scholar
  39. Prusinkiewicz P, Lindenmayer A (1990) The algorithmic beauty of plants, Electronic version published Springer, New York, in 1990 and reprinted in 1996. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  40. Rinaldo KE (2000) Autopoeisis, interactive artworkGoogle Scholar
  41. Saunders R, Gero JS (2001) Designing for interest and novelty. In: de Vries B, van Leeuwen J, Achten H (eds) Computer aided architectural design futures 2001. Springer, Netherlands, pp 725–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schmidt K “toxi” (2016) toxi.sim.grayscottGoogle Scholar
  43. Seevinck J (2014), Of me With me, interactive artworkGoogle Scholar
  44. Seevinck J (2016) Dichroic Wade, interactive artworkGoogle Scholar
  45. Seevinck J (2008) +−now, interactive artworkGoogle Scholar
  46. Self J (2012) CAD versus sketching, Why Ask? Core77Google Scholar
  47. Solkoll (2005) Fractal trees. Images of the trees generated from a L-system. Scholar
  48. Sommerer C, Mignonneau L (1994) A-Volve, interactive artworkGoogle Scholar
  49. Sommerer C, Mignonneau L (eds) (1998) Art as a living system. In: Art @ science. Springer, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  50. Soufi B, Edmonds EA (1995) A framework for the description and representation of emergent shapes. In: Teh M, Tan R (eds) Proceedings of computer-aided architectural design (CAAD) futures. Singapore, pp 411–422Google Scholar
  51. Stiny G (1993) Emergence and continuity in shape grammars. In: Flemming U, Van Wyk S (eds). North-Holland Publishing Co., pp 37–54Google Scholar
  52. Stott R (2015) The Computer vs the hand in architectural drawing: ArchDaily readers respond. ArchDailyGoogle Scholar
  53. Suwa M, Tversky B (2003) Constructive perception: a metacognitive skill for coordinating perception and conception. pp 1140–1145Google Scholar
  54. Thomas NJT (1999) Are theories of imagery theories of imagination? An active perception approach to conscious mental content. Cogn. Sci. 23:207–245. doi: 10.1207/s15516709cog2302_3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Turk G (1991) Generating textures on arbitrary surfaces using reaction-diffusion. Proceedings of the 18th annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. ACM, New York, USA, pp 289–298Google Scholar
  56. Ware C (2008) Visual thinking for design. Elsevier Inc., Morgan KaufmannGoogle Scholar
  57. Whitelaw M (2004) Emergence. In: Metacreation: art and artificial life. MIT Press, pp 206–237Google Scholar
  58. Witkin A, Kass M (1991) Reaction-diffusion textures. Proceedings of the 18th annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. ACM, New York, USA, pp 299–308Google Scholar
  59. Xu Y, Reynaga G, Chiasson S et al (2012) Security and usability challenges of moving-object CAPTCHAs: decoding codewords in motion. In: Proceedings of the 21st USENIX conference on security symposium. USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA, pp 4–4Google Scholar
  60. Xu Y, Reynaga G, Chiasson S et al (2014) Security analysis and related usability of motion-based CAPTCHAs: decoding codewords in motion. IEEE Trans Dependable Secure Comput 11:480–493. doi: 10.1109/TDSC.2013.52 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations