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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Human morphology has gone beyond our biological borders and translated into the environment that surrounds us. We have changed, over the generations of our existence and along with us our habitats, we’ve managed to build complex systems and infrastructure that harbour life as we know it. Where does the inherent need to craft our living spaces come from? It may well be from within us, on both a psychological and biological level.

Monozygotic is an interactive light install embodying an abstract generative model that conveys the process of Epigenetics: How the environment affects our genome and how the human morphological phenotype extends out to the build environment through our behaviour and interaction with the environment.

A piece that investigates these complex biological processes through the mathematical frameworks of John Conway’s Cellular Automata, The Game of Life and draws parallels to the epigenetic engines that run human and environmental morphology. Better insight into Epigenetics could potentially cause human physiological and morphological evolution to leap forward and even solve many of the environmental and biological constraints that currently plague our Anthropocene era.

Monozygotic employs computer vision to track human movement and behaviour within our inhabitable spaces and translates this interaction data into the mathematical models of cellular automata that give rise to new emergent forms of behaviour through the medium of light.

Monozygotic II occupied the Life Rewired Hub at the Barbican’s Foyers. We changed our tracking system to computer vision using background subtraction & frame differencing. On detection of movement, Processing sent a signal to the Game of Life code running on Open Frameworks, that in turn communicated with the LED panels through an Arduino array. Interaction was established by the appearance of the Octagon oscillator, one of the shapes that springs out of the rule set by Conway. Multiple interactions at each of the poles defined by the grids trigger the CA and the interaction between them creates the shapes and movements of cells.