ThingThingThing is a computational system that invites audiences to take part in collective world-making. It is built with easily-accessible tools and interfaces, allowing everyone to contribute a computational object of their own. All computational objects created by audiences are integrated automatically by the software algorithms. The result is an ever-evolving, never concluding, three-dimensional system of instantiations, created by everyone yet owned by no one.
ThingThingThing is both object and process. The world of ThingThingThing is a real-time simulation, a video game that plays itself, a never-ending film. The participants jointly determine its evolution by setting an initial seed state of their computational object, which later requires no further human control. All viewers can interact with the world by navigating an in-game eyeball and observe the behavior of all living objects.
The artists and technologists have been hosting a series of workshops with museums and art institutions around the world. The workshop enables everyone from students, artists, designers, architects and technologists to create their own programmed creatures with intelligence. Past collaborators include:
- Macy Art Gallery, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
- City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
- Guangzhou Academy of Art (GAFA), Guangzhou, China
- Creative Tech Week (CTW), New York, NY
- Asia Art Archive in America (AAA-A), Brooklyn, NY
- Power Station of Art (PSA), Shanghai, China.
The latest ThingThingThing exhibition and workshop were hosted at NEW INC, the Art & Technology incubator of New Museum in September, 2019.
Borrowing video game as a playground to reenact this tension in a designed environment, We invented its own making based research methodology:
- Players create their own computational objects, and set it loose. The creator loses direct access to their objects. The object takes on its agency.
- Collectively, these Objects forming a system, display a level of complexity beyond individual creators’ comprehension.
- The active making and passive observation reveals a process – complex computational system emerges as the result of a collection of simple rules governing computational objects’ individual and group behaviors in a controlled environment.