Logos Zontanos

Language remade as digital lifeforms occupying human spaces.

Materials: Arduino, laptop computers, motion sensors, sonic rangefinders

Logos Zontanos from Vin Hill on Vimeo.

Logos Zontanos is a collection of autonomous agents communicating via a network, executing a genetic algorithm, and producing an audio event experienced by those who intrude on the space the agents occupy. The substance of their communication is text read aloud which each agent generates according to a set of patterns. Each agent builds a vocabulary using a combination of pre-loaded words, words borrowed from each other, and words obtained from web-based sources such as blogs and news sources. Occasionally borrowed and found words undergo "mutation" and become synonyms or antonyms.

Agents rate the vocalized text they receive from others. Based on those ratings, the agents make choices about which other agents they wish to mate with. Agents reproduce sexually and, when successful, produce a single offspring containing no more than half of the vocabulary of each parent. The process of reproduction also induces synonym mutations, causing child and parents to be similar but not exactly the same. Also, a child may be born with so few words as to have little resemblance to either parent.

Offspring do not immediately join their community. Rather, they are stored in the ether and await the death of a currently living agent. The children descend from the ether and posses the dead husk of other agents. This process allows the most successful mating partners to fill entire generations with their offspring and essentially win the future. However, the closer an agent comes to death, the more desperately it tries to reproduce and fill its vocabulary with words unique enough to attract the attention of mates.

Something is always lost between generations. The genetic combining of vocabularies often omits many things and newly manifested agents must undergo an education before fully joining the community. Once they do, they will be influenced by whichever agents are present including those who had previously been denied mating opportunities. In this way, losers in the race to own the future always have the potential to become winners.

Each agent speaks with a unique voice to each other which can be heard by those who are near the physical area they have occupied to carry out the process of mating, dying, and rebirth. If the physical territory they occupy is disturbed during their ritual they will halt it for fear of discovery. Only the boldest or most desperate will risk detection to attract a mate under those circumstances.