Mars and Beyond, Mycelium and Research
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Mars and Beyond

I’m busy getting ready for Mars and Beyond, an exhibition that opens this Thursday at Bargehouse, OXO Wharf, in London. I will be exhibiting a wide range of work, including projections, 3D printed bas-reliefs, a stereoscopic installation and my 3D printed Vase Forms.

With themes concerning global warming, species extinction, and the possibilities of exploration of other planets, it’s going to be a big show with over 40 artists spread over the five floors of Bargehouse. Organized by fellow artist Oskar Krajewski, it will include friends such as Laura Dekker, Esther Rolinson, Aphra Shemza, Karel Bata and Paul Friedlander, as well as Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion.
The exhibition runs from 20th February to 15th March.

Vase Form Fabricated in Mycelium

I’m particularly excited by a collaboration with Blast Studio to fabricate one of my Vase Forms in mycelium. Mycelium is a fascinating material: it’s the fibrous matter grown by fungi, and has been the subject of a lot of recent research into its potential as a new fabrication material.

Blast Studio is a London based company that has developed their own techniques for 3D printing in mycelium. They take recycled coffee cups and turn them into a paste that can be extruded using a custom built 3D printer. This forms a medium the mycelium can grow in.
I’ve been collaborating with them for a few months now. The first result is a mycelium version of one of my Vase Forms, which we’re going to be exhibiting at Mars and Beyond.


Following the two weeks I spent last year at Monash University with Prof. Jon McCormack and his SensiLab research group, I’ve been continuing to work with deep neural networks. I’m now integrating them into Species Explorer, the software I use to creatively explore the possibilities of parametrically driven systems.

The first research paper from this work has been accepted by EvoMUSART, and I’ll be going to Seville in April to present it in person. The paper describes using deep neural networks to give reliable predictions of the ratings and categorizations that I use in Species Explorer, doing tests with data generated from my Cellular Forms. These can generate predictions based on the original parameters (the genotype), including generating cross-sectional plots showing predictions for how varying parameters would affect the results. Essentially creating maps to help an artist navigate the landscape of possibilities.
It’s ongoing work, but will hopefully enable me to take the way I work with generative systems to a new level.

EVA London 2020

I have also had a paper accepted about experiments I’ve been doing with GPU based ray-tracing. For a number of years I’ve been using my own custom GPU ray-tracing code to render images and simulate light rays hitting cells, but the new RTX generation of NVIDIA GPUs have dedicated hardware for ray tracing. You can program this using their OptiX application framework and the results are impressive: significantly higher rendering speeds as well as the ability to work in a much more flexible way.

I used OptiX for the graphics I created for Max Cooper’s Yearning for the Infinite show, which premiered at the Barbican last September. I’ve been continuing to experiment with the library, and can now render Cellular Forms data sets with tens of millions of cells in real time, allowing users to interact directly with them. I’m going to be presenting this work at a paper and demo session (Enhancing Perception of Complex Sculptural Forms using Interactive Real-time Ray Tracing) at the EVA London conference at the British Computer Society in July.
Copyright © 2020 Andy Lomas, All rights reserved.

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