PRINT November 2002

John Klima

We are still very much in a “Nickelodeon” stage of computing, searching for ways to expand our infant technology. The sites below contain Java applets—small pieces of powerful software that extend the capabilities of a Web browser far beyond static text and image—that demonstrate behavioral algorithms of the sort typically employed in the computer gaming industry to create increasingly wily adversaries. None of them is an animation in the classic sense of the flip book. Rather, the animator creates a set and “actors,” establishes parameters for their behavior, and determines the physics of their little universe. The graphics are all generated based on rules that produce an infinite number of outcomes. These devices have been employed to great effect in computer games like The Sims and in Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park and Titanic, but they’re also increasingly subjected to serious aesthetic investigation by digital artists like Mark Napier, Golan Levin, John Simon Jr., and me. My guess is that artists of the future will look to these as examples of the “new art”—however that ultimately manifests itself.

Brooklyn-based new-media artist John Klima explores connections between the virtual and the real through his interactive digital art. His browser Earth was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and his recent work, Context Breeder, can be viewed at