Decision Fields : Embodied Algorithms

What began as a production studio for block-printed textiles evolved into multi-year research for a visual tool / process / system that uses decision making to generate flexible, responsive patterns. The research's distinct chapters maps onto its distinct incarnations [1] :


artisan business —› interactive workshop practice —› non-competitive emergent pattern game —› speculative tool to allow humans and robot agents to communicate with a novel symbolic system —› speculative graphical calculus

Through the actions of conscious agents, Decision Fields foster the emergence of infinitely variable patterns on a plane.


In process and intention, the textile patterns from Dym | california textiles didn't emerge from a designer intending them to be lyrical or interesting—making a single top down decision, giving the production staff a finished drawing to replicate. Instead, these textiles are the output, the results of conscious agents operating a decision-making system. The textile, or later, works on paper, render the myriad decisions visible.



Decision Fields has uses beyond aesthetic appeal. With neither judgement nor resistance, Decisions Fields encodes each agent's decisions as traceable marks on a surface. It incorporates agent error, directional recalibration, and unruly actions. [2]




When "agents" are human beings, their analog embodied interactions occur both on the "field" that holds the marks of their decisions and experiences with/among each other (below). I envision Decision Fields in a setting where human agent meets robot agent, one or more of each. How would the robot, or AI, decide what if any variations to enact? How would the robot respond to the approach of a human's pattern toward or around its pattern?



Post script. Further research.


A friend sends me math papers that he connects to how I describe what happens with the patterns. One about "signal machines" [3] and another about "tangle machines" resonated with how I conceive of this project. Though dealing with 1-dimensional space, what the authors describe, summed up in the paper's abstract and appearing in the signal machine diagrams, seem related to my process—especially when Decision Fields is run by robot agents responding to or working with external information.


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[1] It's had other names, including Infinite Stripes and Embodied Algorithms. The former, Infinite Stripes, referred originally to a collection of textiles and then became a way to think about the odd idea of using segments to create a potentially endless stripe; the latter, Embodied Algorithms, became the name of the communication game / activity version.

[2] They can also be used as the communication game, Embodied Algorithms.

[3] Abstract Geometrical Computation 10: An Intrinsically Universal Family of Signal Machines, Becker et al. arXiv:1804.09018v2 [cs.FL] 21 Mar 2019