“Embodied Emergence: Distributed Computing Manipulatives” presented by Bouchard and Maes


Session Title:

  • Corporeal Interfaces

Presentation Title:

  • Embodied Emergence: Distributed Computing Manipulatives




  • This paper discusses how a system comprised of simple tangible blocks can enable playful and creative experimentation with the concept of emergent behavior.

    Distributed systems and the emergent properties that can arise out of simple localized interactions have fascinated scientists and artists alike for the last century. They challenge the notions of control and creativity, producing outcomes that can be beautiful, engaging and surprising at the same time. Emergence has been central to fields such as artificial life and its artistic derivatives. It implies something novel and unanticipated, and as such can be thought of as the reward which draws the artist to explore this bottom-up approach to creation. Furthermore, systems based on emergence carry the promise to allow the creation of complex behaviour from simple elements. The notion of using emergence as a strategy to manage this complexity is very attractive in an era where technology is becoming ever more complicated.

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