Simon Ingram May 2009
*1971 in Wellington (NZ)
Mixed among the paint tubes and brushes in Simon Ingram’s studio are plastic Lego blocks, metal rods and clamps, wires and yellow boxes with rudimentary controls.These are the "consumer grade" robotics kits Ingram uses to construct self-painting artworks. Both his machines and his works draw on computer science theories of artificial life. An example is Langton’s Ant, a program written in the 1980s. The ant starts out on a grid containing black and white cells. If it is on a black square, it turns right 90 degrees and moves forward one unit. If the ant is on a white square, it turns left 90 degrees and moves forward one unit. When the ant leaves a square, it inverts the colour. Ingram says by appropriating such rules, he turns himself into a sort of painting machine.