Dmitry Morozov describes his ‘Signes de vie’ (‘Signs of Life’) project as a light model of a simple cell colony built on the principles of one-dimensional cellular automaton. Interestingly, the unique light and sound mechanism is based on an old fax machine.
“A fluorescent dye is applied on special fax paper, [while the] thermal printing element is replaced by a row of 10 LEDs,” the Moscow-based artist explained. “As it goes through a step-by-step under the row of diodes, it leaves on a paper a glowing trace from short flashes: a row that corresponds to one generation of cellular automaton. Gradually, each of the rows fade and is being replaced by a new one, but the glowing time is enough to see the whole pattern of the colony.”
Thus, says Morozov, the paper becomes a kind of a chronicle of the colony’s life.
“One of the 256 algorithms (rules – more info) of the simplest one-dimensional cellular automation can be used. Those are selected by a switch,” he continued. “Additionally, there is a speed switch that selects appearance time-frame of each new generation in the range of 1 to 18 seconds.”
In addition to the above-mentioned fax machine, the project also features an Arduino Uno (Atmel ATmega328) and a small speaker through which an algorithmic composition is played – with pitch and spacing of repetitions directly dependent on the conditions of the selected rule.
You can read more about Morozov’s Signs of Life on the project’s official page here.