I’ve created some “””art””” using the Processing programming language. For some reason having all the animations on one page causes problems, so I describe them all here and link to them on separate pages (click on the title to see the animation).
It’s some adorable little black triangles that just want to flock peacefully, but they’re pursued by a big red scary triangle. The flocking behavior is taken from this paper (I chose parameter values to make the behavior look interesting on a computer screen, and the chasing/fleeing behavior of/from the red triangle is my own invention). Midway through making this, I realized that Processing has an example flocking program. I stole the idea for the triangle shapes from that example (previously, everything was circular, which turns out to be pretty boring). My flocking behavior is more accurate than the flocking behavior in that code because mine uses topological rather than metric distance for the interactions (as per the previously cited paper). In other words, my triangles look at the closest X other triangles while triangles in the example look at all triangles within Y distance.
Short for “Rock Paper Scissors Emergence.” Here “emergence” refers to the notion of emergence in complex systems. The rules are simple: the animation cycles through two steps. The first step is movement in which the colored squares move to a randomly-selected adjacent square if it’s unoccupied. The second step is conversion in which blue squares become red if they’re next to any red squares, red squares become green if they’re next to any green squares, and green squares become blue if they’re next to any blue squares. So blue-red-green has a sort of rock-paper-scissors dynamic—hence the name. These simple rules lead to interesting emergent phenomenon: herding, chasing/fleeing, booms/busts, etc. Once you get a sense of the rules by watching in standard mode, you can get a smoother view by clicking on the animation to turn it into blur mode.
This is a game in which you get to decide how to win and lose and how difficult it is. You control the big red circle with your mouse, but will you choose to avoid the little black circles or try to get as many of them as possible? The game doesn’t keep track of score or lives, so it’s up to you to decide how well you’re doing and when the game is over. You can make more little black circles arrive on the screen by left clicking and fewer arrive by right clicking. This “””game””” is “””commentary””” on “””games””” specifically, but “””entertainment””” and “””meaning””” more generally, so it’s “””very””” “””good””” “””art.”””
Tony graduated in 2012 with majors in mathematics and economics. He now lives in Chicago and is pursuing graduate study in economics. He also has a very good cultural trivia podcast called “Here’s My Number, So Call Me Ishmael” available on Libsyn, iTunes, and Google Play.