Installation featured at the South Korean National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

December 13 / 126

An installation artwork by physicst Dr Andrew Melatos and visual artist Briony Barr, called ‘Drawing on Complexity: Experiment 4’, has been unveiled at the inauguration ceremony of Seoul’s $230M National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA).

The event was attended by the President of South Korea, Park Geun-hue.

The artwork was one of four commissioned for the Aleph Project, a four-month exhibition at the MMCA inspired by the ideas of the writer Jorge Luis Borges. It explored the themes of complexity and emergence in an art-science context.

Dr Melatos, from the School of Physics, said exploring the deep connections between art and science through the creation of an artwork, in partnership with an established artist like Briony Barr, had been a wonderful experience.

"To be invited to contribute an artwork to the opening of Seoul's premier contemporary art museum was a real honour, not to mention a lot of fun for someone who plays with mathematical equations for a living,” Dr Melatos said.

"The enthusiastic response Briony and I received from the Seoul public when lecturing about art and complex systems in the museum's educational program replicated the sort of excitement we have encountered in Australia over the last two years, for example during activities with primary school kids at the civic studio ArtPlay.  

'Drawing on Complexity: Experiment 4’ is an expanded drawing constructed from three kilometres of coloured electrical tape by a team of 25 local volunteers, or agents, enacting the rules of a cellular automaton on a 10 metre by 10 metre grid.

Each agent is assigned a two-component genetic code; when agents meet at a point in the drawing, their interaction and hence the tape marks that they make are determined by the combination of their genetic codes, leading to the emergence of scale-invariant forms.

The drawing and video are on public display at the MMCA until 16 March, when the artwork will be "undrawn" - and the process recorded - by the same group of volunteers. It will also feature in the MMCA's educational program.

A time-lapse video of the artwork's creation: (see Experiment 4).

Editorial Enquiries

Got a story?

Staff are encouraged to submit stories. There are some important steps in preparing a media-ready story.  Email