jon mccormack

Jon McCormack

Lives and works in Melbourne

Link to artist website


work in the exhibition:

Colourfield  2009-2016

artist-written software, computer, display monitor

catalogue text:

Jon McCormack is an internationally acclaimed digital media and software artist, based in Melbourne. He is a Professor of Computer Science, and Director of the innovative SensiLab project, at Monash University.

Colourfield (2010) is an evolutionary software ecosystem in which colour agents try to exist in a simple universe by producing colours suited to their environment, that aid their ’success’ within it. All agents follow a simple set of rules relating to proximity and state that inform expression of their individual condition at any given time increment. As they apply these rules, again and again over time, they collectively create their environment of complex feedback cycles and shifting colour relationships.

Different configurations emerge autonomously, based on strategies the ecosystem discovers for co-existence and co-dependency. Harmonious configurations will remain stable for a short while, before eventually being replaced by new adaptive combinations better able to survive in their ever-shifting iterative environment.

Colourfields autonomously generated algorithmic colour patterns – untouched by human hands –  are strongly reminiscent of patterns and forms in the trajectories of 20th century modernist abstraction and non-objective painting traditions.

For Fieldwork, Jon has further evolved Colourfield to include a photodiode sensor that connects the software ecosystem with the real-world environment in front of its hardware host. The diode ‘advises’ the virtual ecosystem about changing colour conditions in the outside world – for example, viewer’s clothing – and its agents respond by evolving to reflect the changing external conditions.

Colourfield has been exhibited around the world including in France, China (Australian Pavilion, World Expo 2010), the USA, and Melbourne.

Gary Warner
Sydney 2016