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Goethe’s Morphology: A Device for Exploring and Generating Complexity

May 6 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Join us for the third in our new series of free monthly talks on the subject of Holistic Science, organised by Schumacher College in collaboration with the Field Centre.

For this talk we’re delighted to welcome Dr Oriane Petteni.

This talk approaches the Goethean Morphology as the forerunner of contemporary techniques of pattern generation via natural computing and computer graphics. I propose to read Goethe’s Morphology as an original device of reduction, departing from the phenomenological realm to intuit nature’s self-generating processes. In this context, the main remit of reduction is not to simplify complexity, as is usually the case in modern natural sciences, but rather to let visually emerge the autonomous processes that superintend the generation of complexity itself. In this sense, I understand Goethe’s main gesture as an attempt to comprehend the logic of nature from within, instead of merely trying to represent or mimic it. I show how this very methodological gesture paved the way to some of the most innovative branches of natural computing and Artificial Life: namely, how the use of computer graphics and computer simulation in natural computing context can be seen as a contemporary actualization of Goethe’s research program. Finally, I ask how the later can contribute to change the definition of the notion of life itself.



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May 6
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Simon Reakes