Arts/Sciences#15: William Latham

Thursday, 22 May 2014 | 20:00
Arts/Sciences#15: William Latham
Evolutionary Art

William Latham is a computer art pioneer, internationally known for his organic artworks based on the processes of evolution. Up to 1993, he was a Research Fellow at The IBM UK Scientific Centre. He then founded Computer Artworks Ltd, a game studio that produced the video game The THING. Since 2007, Latham is Professor of Computer Art at Goldsmiths, where he applies his evolutionary rule-based approach to the domain of protein folding, scientific visualization and gamification in collaboration with the Bioinformatics department, neuroscientists and Prof. Frederic Leymarie.

In his lecture, William will go through more than 30 years of art/science collaborations in various fields such as architecture, dance, rave culture, genetics, creative development in video game and neurosciences,...

The Mutator 1 + 2 exhibition will be open during the lecture.

About William Latham

From 1987 to 1993 William Latham, who was trained as an artist, became a Research Fellow at The IBM UK Scientific Centre in Winchester UK and his Mutation work achieved world-wide recognition at SIGGRAPH and other events and a number of IBM patents were published. He was co-author with mathematician Stephen Todd of the book "Evolutionary Art and Computers" published by Academic Press which is still recognised as a key works in this area. His organic artworks and films were shown worldwide in major one person touring exhibitions in the UK, Germany, Japan and Australia during that time backed by The British Council.

Started at IBM with S.Todd, the Mutator software, based on his methodology for mutating and evolving forms, allows designers to ‘breed’ designs in the same way as Latham generates art, pulling us into the virtual laboratories of artificial life. The manipulation of the natural world by humans is a theme which runs though much of Latham’s work; in fact he likens himself to a gardener who breeds organic art by exploiting and amplifying mutations in order to create new, hybrid forms, a process he describes as “an evolution driven by aesthetics”.

Moving on from IBM into computer games, William was CEO and founder of leading games developer Computer Artworks Ltd from 1994 to 2003, hit games produced included The THING (Playstation2, Xbox and PC) for Universal Studios and was Number 1 hit in the UK and Germany. During this time he also worked with various infamous UK rave bands producing organic graphics and videos.

From 2005 to 2006 William was Professor of Creative Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University and in 2007 he became Professor of Computer Art at Goldsmiths (University of London) At Goldsmith he is working on research in collaboration with the Bioinformatics Department at Imperial College applying his  evolutionary rule-based approach to the domain of protein folding, scientific visualization and gamification in collaboration with Prof. Frederic Leymarie.

For the past six years William has been working again with Stephen Todd and his son Peter Todd on Mutator 2 Art.  He is a Director of SoftV Ltd working with UCL (University College London) Neuroscience Group and a Director of London Geometry Ltd.

William was a student at The Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford University and the Royal College of Art where he studied Fine Art. 

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