Complexity 20, Jim Modiano has developed a system of
abstract shapes which have the capacity to self-organize into
a cohesive composition. In his process, these cut-out shapes are
literally tossed onto a substrate allowing them to fall where
they may. After all the shapes are tossed the outcome is observed,
the shapes 'reshuffled' and tossed again. A single composition
like the one seen here is actually a single outcome from among
perhaps 50 trials.
one sees through the course of repeated trials is that the type
organization the shapes assume tends toward three specific states:
there is an ordered state where the cut-outs are evenly spaced
with very little interaction; a chaotic state where the cut-outs
are all piled one on top the other in an incomprehensible mess;
and a complex state, as pictured here, where the cut-outs form
intricate arrays and the extent of their interactions is maximized.
believes that the abstract shapes he works with do constitute a
system and that their behavior can be described as complex. His
system of shapes is comprised of simple agents [individual cut-outs]
that display the properties of self-organization [in the formation
of the overall composition] and emergence [in the formation of meta-shapes
resulting from the combinations of individual shapes].
the compositions that result are driven by chance and randomness,
Modiano recognizes that his shape systems are not true complex adaptive
systems in that they are highly tuned visually: the choice of colors
and color relationships, scaling, and the overt forms of the shapes
themselves all remain under the control of the artist.
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