Pixi – Nature aware, self-sufficient, digital organism ‘breathes’ in the forest

Created by the artist collective WERC, Pixi is a digital organism inspired by the complex patterns that exist in nature and questions whether a technical natural phenomenon can imitate the complex aesthetics of nature or interact with it.  The Pixi was designed to be self-sufficient; able to survive in a natural environment and similarly to other organisms, Pixi can make their own choices and are also influenced by environmental factors from nature. Equipped with a pulsating light, the visitors can observe only a handful of Pixies and there are no discernible behavioural patterns. However, when they step back and look at them from a distance, the connections in the flock become clear and visible – a group intelligence arises.

The Pixi was developed as a single individual and then reproduced. The more organisms are added to the flock, the more complex the patterns become, and the more intelligently the organism communicates and collaborates. The Pixi’s brain is a microprocessor containing behavioural rules, the bases of which are identical. The behaviour dictates how often, how fast, and to how many other Pixies a message should be sent. When a Pixi receives a message, it interprets this and then sends it on. When a Pixi hasn’t received a message for some time, it will initiate contact on its own. By having the behavioural rules executed locally and in multitudes, complex images arise. The team makes the organism do the work by very quickly and very precisely repeating simple rules until they form complex images. The team then assesses these images and adjusts them. Inputting variables into these rules creates an infinite number of combinations. After this point, the team no longer makes any decisions; they simply provide the framework within which the Pixies are free to move.

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