Cellular Automata in Wood

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Woodworking
Cellular Automata in Wood

I believe Los Angeles artist Jeff Cook‘s medium is correctly described as marquetry—”the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures”—rather than parquetry—”very similar in technique to marquetry: in parquetry the pieces of veneer are of simple repeating geometric shapes, forming tiling patterns” (Wikipedia). The key question seems to be whether the patterns generated by the cellular automata that inspire Jeff’s art are “repeating,” and much of the excitement surrounding them, I suppose, is precisely that they are not: simple starting conditions and rule sets generate complex unpredictable patterns. Jeff, who poses as a mild-mannered computer scientist for a major metropolitan software company by day, was inspired by Stephan Wolfram’s 2002 book A New Kind of Science, and calls his work “Wolfrule Art” because it is derived from Wolfram Elementary Cellular Automaton Rules. He has written a Wolfrule Online Calculator that you can play with in your browser and/or download if you want to monkey with the code yourself. His show at Venice Beach’s Chalk gallery runs through the 29th. [via Boing Boing]

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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