Survival In An


The video for Organa depicts the natural variation of animal form.

For this chapter of the Emergence story, I wanted to escape the computational and data-driven approaches often used in other parts of the project, and try something more humanised. I found an amazing artist called Sabine Volkert, who hand-draws every frame of her videos, which creates a very particular sort of feeling, and one that seemed to me to fit with the feeling of the music and of the concept involved - the tinkering of animal development via random mutation to create a rich variation of forms on which natural selection can act - the mechanism of Darwinian Evolution.

Sabine told this story with warping morphologies, exploring the range of animal structures we see around us. All of these different structures have many shared underlying principles, such as segmentation (units built around analogues of a spinal cord), modularity (organs as individual units), and bilateral symmetry (mirrored body structure to give directionality for senses). There are many more of these common principles shared amongst animal forms, which are coded for and created by shared molecular mechanisms like the genetic code and gene regulation, which guide the process of development to create each different animal.

Because of this mechanism of conserved systems and principles, random mutations in small regions of DNA can produce large scale, coordinated changes in bodily structure. It's evolution of evolvability - nature has set up system which is likely to produce a wide range of potentially viable, but different animals, as the best bet for survival in an unpredictable world.

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