Codeform 2012

Codefom was a real-time 3D stereoscopic work developed specifically for Deep Space in the Ars Electronica Museum. Visitors to Deep Space can use their museum entry tickets to generate the “DNA” of a virtual creature that grows and develops in an electronic ecosystem. The QR code on each ticket is used to create an artificial life-form that is unique to each visitor. Each new life form develops and grows in a virtual electronic ecosystem.


John McCormack on Codeform and Fifty Sisters.


The creature may have joined other creatures that had been created by previous visitors. Creatures mated and created offspring. Some creatures may have died and others survived, creating a dynamic environment unique to each group of visitors. The most adapted creatures lived on until the next show, moving about the virtual 3D space. A visitor who had returned to a later show, could track the progress of their creature over evolutionary time and see how it has fared in the ecosystem and what it has evolved to become. While visually strange and electronic, the ecosystem of Codeform suggested an affinity with nature from the process and behaviours of the system rather than its form and appearance.


Artificial Life created from museum visitor’s tickets, 2012. Commission for the Ars Electronica Museum, Linz, Austria.
Artificial Life created from museum visitor’s tickets, 2012. Commission for the Ars Electronica Museum, Linz, Austria.


Codeform was a reflection of popular concepts of genetics, it questions the influence of an individual in a collective society and the codification of the individual by technology. Inspired by the diminishing and changing relationship between natural and human-made environments, Codeform provided a glimpse into a new form of electronic nature.

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This project was developed in collaboration with the Ars Electronica Future Lab and with support from Monash University and the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project DP1094064) and is part of Studiolab funded by the EC Seventh Framework Programme. The Australian Artist-in-Residence program at the FutureLab was initiated and produced by Novamedia in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts and Ars Electronica.

Artist in Residence:

Original Concept, Programming, Direction: Jon McCormack

Project Team:

Roland Haring, Martina Mara, Roland Aigner, Benjamin Mayr, Otto Naderer, Patrick Müller, Erwin Reitböck

Sound Design:

Peter McIlwain (Sonic Design)

Ars Electronica Futurelab:

Programming and Deep Space support: Benjamin Mayr