Recombinant Icon (2004)

This work was made in response to Patrick Lichty's request for a web based artwork which would critically address the icon, an essential element in most graphical user interfaces found in computer operating systems today.

Recombinant Icon refers to Turing's idea of a machine that can alter itself by reading its own state and using that reading to modify its state, ad infinitum (a process of recombinance).

In this work the screen is divided into two sections. The left-hand side shows a 32 x 32 grid, the conventional template for icons commonly seen on computer desktops. As the mouse is moved over this grid a diverse number of icons are displayed on the grid, blown up to approximately 10 times their usual scale. Whilst this happens the right-hand side of the screen displays a picture being painted, the movements of the brush following those of the mouse, displaced across the ...

Full Description

This work was made in response to Patrick Lichty's request for a web based artwork which would critically address the icon, an essential element in most graphical user interfaces found in computer operating systems today.

Recombinant Icon refers to Turing's idea of a machine that can alter itself by reading its own state and using that reading to modify its state, ad infinitum (a process of recombinance).

In this work the screen is divided into two sections. The left-hand side shows a 32 x 32 grid, the conventional template for icons commonly seen on computer desktops. As the mouse is moved over this grid a diverse number of icons are displayed on the grid, blown up to approximately 10 times their usual scale. Whilst this happens the right-hand side of the screen displays a picture being painted, the movements of the brush following those of the mouse, displaced across the screen, and the brush itself being composed of a smaller version of the icon (a 10 x 10 pixel version). When the mouse is rolled off of the grid the entire image on the right-hand side of the screen is captured and re-scaled to become a new and unique icon, also displayed on the icon grid.

All code, data and other material used in Recombinant Icon were authored by Simon Biggs - except the icon's.

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Artist Statement

This work was made in response to Patrick Lichty's request for a web based artwork which would critically address the icon, an essential element in most graphical user interfaces found in computer operating systems today.

Recombinant Icon refers to Turing's idea of a machine that can alter itself by reading its own state and using that reading to modify its state, ad infinitum (a process of recombinance).

In this work the screen is divided into two sections. The left-hand side shows a 32 x 32 grid, the conventional template for icons commonly seen on computer desktops. As the mouse is moved over this grid a diverse number of icons are displayed on the grid, blown up to approximately 10 times their usual scale. Whilst this happens the right-hand side of the screen displays a picture being painted, the movements of the brush following those of the mouse, displaced across the screen, and the brush itself being composed of a smaller version of the icon (a 10 x 10 pixel version). When the mouse is rolled off of the grid the entire image on the right-hand side of the screen is captured and re-scaled to become a new and unique icon, also displayed on the icon grid.

All code, data and other material used in Recombinant Icon were authored by Simon Biggs - except the icon's.

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