New Kind of Cinema: Pop Culture via Cellular Automata

Ilfeld's New Kind of Cinema work was showcased at TEDxLondon in 2011, included in the Apparatjik iPhone magazine and archived in Rhizome's ArtBase. New Kind of Cinema was programmed in Mathematica and inspired by the usage of cellular automata after training with Stephen Wolfram in Pisa during the summer of 2009. Computer animations are created by providing the program with images drawn from popular culture (e.g. Michael Jackson, the tower of Pisa, a Chess set), after which, the computer program automatically creates a unique video such that a single black cell mutates into each target image. This process of emergence illustrates the manner in which complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.

This project streamlines the creation of a seamless animation based upon the input of an image and a specified search size that is to be explored. Fourier and Compression methods are used as a metric in order to select the rule which generates a form that is most similar to a target image's Fourier transform and compression size. After selecting an optimized rule, a complete animation is generated, which begins with a single black cell and ends with the originally selected image.

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New Kind of Cinema: Pop Culture via Cellular Automataby Etan Ilfeld

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