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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Digital Arts and Culture 2009 was the 8th in an international series of conferences begun in 1998. DAC is recognized as an interdisciplinary event of high intellectual caliber. This iteration of DAC dwelled on the specificities of embodiment and cultural, social and physical location with respect to digital technologies and networked communications. DAC09 was structured around themes, each theme being composed of panels. DAC09 was held in the Arts Plaza of the University of California Irvine. Simon Penny is director of DAC09.

Introduction and Acknowledgements � Simon Penny

Cover page of Art and Artificial Life – a Primer

Art and Artificial Life – a Primer


It was not until the late 1980s that the term ‘Artificial Life’ arose as a descriptor of a range of (mostly) computer based research practices which sought alternatives to conventional Artificial Intelligence methods as a source of (quasi-) intelligent behavior in technological systems and artifacts. These practices included reactive and bottom-up robotics, computational systems which simulated evolutionary and genetic processes, and are range of other activities informed by biology and complexity theory. A general desire was to capture, harness or simulate the generative and ‘emergent’ qualities of ‘nature’ - of evolution, co-evolution and adaptation. ‘Emergence’ was a keyword in the discourse. Two decades later, the discourses of Artificial Life continues to have intellectual force, mystique and generative quality within the ‘computers and art’ community. This essay is an attempt to contextualise Artificial Life Art by providing an historical overview, and by providing background in the ideas which helped to form the Artificial Life movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This essay is prompted by the exhibition Emergence –Art and Artificial Life (Beall Center for Art and Technology, UCI, December 2009) which is a testament to the enduring and inspirational intellectual significance of ideas associated with Artificial Life.

Cover page of Digital Literary Arts Extravaganza

Digital Literary Arts Extravaganza


To complement the panels of DAC and to emphasize the centrality of the Arts at this conference, we have organized the DAC Literary Arts Extravaganza, featuring exciting and dramatic works from the world of electronic literature. Conference guests were invited to see, hear, and engage in the performance of digital-born literary art works that embody the innovative ideas in this year’s panels and that will no doubt be the subject of panels in future DAC conferences. Genres include: live video sculpture, locative media narratives, networked fiction, Flash poetry, and works that words only cannot yet describe. Below are the artists’ descriptions of the works and related links.