Leo Villareal. Simple Rules to Infinite Possibilities
Leo Villareal is an “artist-as-programmer.”1 He starts with a simple set of programming rules, like on and off, to build complex sequences of moving light—pulsating patterns, rippling waves, and starry clusters of glowing LEDs. Early in his career, the artist was drawn to the idea that a minimal amount of information can grow into an elaborate system; he looked to John Conway’s Game of Life, a life-simulation game developed in 1970 that self-evolves from a binary code.2 As in Conway’s Life, the underlying structure or “essence” of Villareal’s pieces is the code itself,3 but orderly rules of machines and software presumed to be lifeless give way to whole visual worlds—energetic fields that transform the built environment into immersive portals.
Steven B. Johnson, in “Introduction: The Work of Art in the Age of Algorithms,” in Leo Villareal, ed. JoAnne Northrup (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2010), 12. ↩︎
Leo Villareal, in Steven B. Johnson in “Introduction: The Work of Art in the Age of Algorithms,” in Leo Villareal, ed. JoAnne Northrup (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2010), 11. ↩︎