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Artificial Life

Summer 2015, Vol. 21, No. 3, Pages 307-312
(doi: 10.1162/ARTL_a_00171)
© 2015 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Accretor : Generative Materiality in the Work of Driessens and Verstappen
Article PDF (617.34 KB)

Accretor, by the Dutch artists Erwin Driessens and Maria Verstappen, is a generative artwork that adopts and adapts artificial life techniques to produce intricate three-dimensional forms. This article introduces and analyzes Accretor, considering the enigmatic quality of the generated objects and in particular the role of materiality in this highly computational work. Accretor demonstrates a tangled continuity between digital and physical domains, where the constraints and affordances of matter inform both formal processes and aesthetic interpretations. Drawing on Arp's notion of the concrete artwork and McCormack and Dorin's notion of the computational sublime, the article finally argues that Accretor demonstrates what might be called a processual sublime, evoking expansive processes that span both computational and non-computational systems.