Exhibition “Wonderful Life” [Archival]


Art & Science Meeting
Wonderful Life
Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
15 MAJA – 24 June 2012
Opening 14 May 2012, at 6.00 pm
Panel discussion with the artist at 7.00 pm


Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau since two decades have been creating interactive devices for simulating evolutionary processes and behavior of living organisms through the creation of computer algorithms. The code is therefore essential for them – computer code understood as a metaphor or as a mirror image of the genetic code. The exhibition of Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau will consist of works such as: Life Spacies II, Phototropy, A-Volve, Eau de Jardin, Life Writer.


Christa Sommerer i Laurent Mignonneau “A-Volve”
source: image from the arstists

Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau are world famous media artists, creating mostly interactive computer installations. They are both teachers at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria, where they lead the Division of Culture at the Institute for the Media Interface. Their cooperation, which continues to this day, began in 1992 at the Institute for New Media in Staedelschule in Frankfurt. Sommerer and Mignonneau have won major prizes and awards, including “Golden Nica” Ars Electronica Award for Interactive Art 1994 (Linz, Austria), and “World Technology Award” in London (2001).


Artistic director of the Art& Science Meeting: prof. Ryszard W. Kluszczyński,

Coordinator: Krzysztof Miękus

Project partners:
Centrum Doskonalenia w Sztukach Biologicznych SymbioticA Uniwersytet Zachodniej Australii
Politechnika Gdańska
Austriackie Forum Kultury w Warszawie
Narodowe Centrum Kultury

Honorary Patrons:
Minister Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego, Bogdan Zdrojewski
Marszałek Województwa Pomorskiego, Mieczysław Struk
Prezydent Miasta Gdańska, Paweł Adamowicz
Ambasada Australii w Warszawie
Ambasada Austrii w Warszawie

Media Patrons:
„Gazeta Wyborcza”, TVP Kultura, Swiatobrazu.pl, Poka Poka Trójmiasto, „Artysta i Sztuka”, „Art & Business”, „Arteon”, o.pl, „Purpose — kultura, nauka, przedsiębiorczość”, Radio Gdańsk, Trójmiasto.pl


Wonderful Life  – opening





Eau de Jardin


Eau de Jardin

Eau de Jardin

Eau de Jardin

Life Writer




Artist statement by Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau 2012


Since 1992 we developed the concept of natural interfaces and evolutionary image processes linked to interaction. We started working with evolutionary biology and became increasingly intrigued by how natural evolution and the processes of nature can function as a tool of creation. We adopted evolutionary image processes to create process-oriented art rather than pre-designed, predictable and object-oriented art. User interaction is an importat component in our artworks as it allows a departure from the art object towards art as a process. Our approach is strongly connected to participatory art as practiced in Happenings, Fluxus, Performance Art, Early Electronic Art, Art and Technology (E.A.T.), Expanded Cinema, Actionism as well as in Cybernetic Art from the 1960ies on. Here the audience participation became an important factor for the creation of the artwork. Coming from a background in biology, and in particular botany, and also from performance art, we strive to design interactive art works similar to living systems, where each interaction triggers the next action and reaction, in a non-pre-deterministic way. We aim for open complex interactive artworks, where each element changes according to the previous input parameters, which then again are changed by these reactions and actions as well. Maturana calls this Autopoisis and Heinz von Foerster coined the term Second-Order Cybernetics to describe aspects of these interactions in natural or artificial systems. In Complex Systems Theory tracing principles of self-organisation, adaptation and evolution are important and it is agreed that the interaction between these particles or proponents of a system are the driving forces in the complexification of the system. In our approach to interactive art, the users or the participants are such elements for the complexification of a complex computer-generated image or sound environment, where each interaction should lead to new results that in return change the behaviour of the overall system and the participant as well. As a result the relationship between the artist and the audience is changing too. We only set out the framework of the artwork but then have the artwork change, grow and evolve by itself through participants interactions. Visitors to our interactive installations are becoming essential parts of the image creation processes of the works. Through evolutionary algorithms images in these installations are no longer static, prefixed and predictable but become like “living systems” themselves. Minute changes in the viewers’ interaction data change and evolve the image creation processes of these art works.

Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau.


 Christa Sommerer i Laurent Mignonneau.