Michelle Vossen

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This research is about finding hidden meaning in layered patterns, creating new meaning in collage and combinations of techniques and looking into the chimaera as a metaphor for image and identity. I study cellular automata to find logic in chaotic systems but to celebrate this chaos simultaneously.


  • (visual) cryptology
  • cellular automata (code simulating life)
  • chimera
  • chaos
  • digital
  • language
  • cultural symbolism

more generally I use all kinds of software in different orders and manner to create new textures and textiles, with digital inspiration as well > on 2 levels digital


  • looking for meaning/identity
  • looking for a digital handwriting and craft
  • looking for geometry in space division
  • looking into how computer programs generate their own visual language (cultural symbolism)


  • Using the handbook of designs and devices by Clarence P. Hornung as a basis for all of the patterns —> distort/repeat/modify to generate meaningful patterns (or the idea of meaning)
  • Using cellular automata software (Golly) to create patterns to 3d print on fabric


geometry into chaos into pattern into new symbolism a modern chimera in textile design

handdrawn by computer/digital cocreation

a collection of symbols and symbolic crafted textiles computers simulating life>software simulating culture

digital symbolism, encrypted meaning, a new visual language computer culture/code culture computer simulations and programs as metaphor for chaotic development of human language

How do computer programs alter images? How far do you have to go until all previous connections have been severed? When do human symbols become computer symbols? How does the human eye interpret then the computer’s interpretation?

combine images to create prints as starting points

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmuf_6h7Kl8 USE PROCESSING TO GENERATE THE PRINTS INSTEAD !!! starting point should not be chaos because chaos is always just under the surface


  • cesar encryption
  • 2 layer encryption (dead messengers)
  • steganography

can I make a gif on a dress? seemingly moving images

making it more about hiding messages and encryption in the textiles

The problem is that I am still creating the prints myself with the symbols and I want the computer to do this. I also cannot properly explain what I am doing, it doesn’t really make sense. There is also a gap between the prints I am generating and the methods I am using, the methods are not really adding another dimension to the project. So my methods and concept are not strong enough yet.

  • don’t forget the chimeras
  • use the text generation tool to write the epic novels of the computer culture https://talktotransformer.com/
  • using neural networks to write the poetry of the machine and then use that as an inspiration for the prints??? or using it as an oracle »> creating a fake culture and fake symbols and fake stories (nonsensical stories about archetypes?)

Concept research

concept description

I started my research with a dive into chaotic patterns, chimeras and intertextuality. Looking into chaotic patterns in nature and code, I encountered cellular automata and cryptography. I am fascinated by how seemingly unlikely subjects can be linked, seeing patterns in chaos and the concept of the chimera.


The Chimera fascinates me on both a mythological and a genetic level.

The Chimera according to Greek mythology, was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat protruding from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake’s head. It was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.

The term “chimera” has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling. Via Wikipedia

Cellular automata

A cellular automaton (pl. cellular automata, abbrev. CA) is a discrete model studied in computer science, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology and microstructure modeling. Cellular automata are also called cellular spaces, tessellation automata, homogeneous structures, cellular structures, tessellation structures, and iterative arrays.

A cellular automaton consists of a regular grid of cells, each in one of a finite number of states, such as on and off (in contrast to a coupled map lattice). The grid can be in any finite number of dimensions. For each cell, a set of cells called its neighborhood is defined relative to the specified cell. An initial state (time t = 0) is selected by assigning a state for each cell. A new generation is created (advancing t by 1), according to some fixed rule (generally, a mathematical function) that determines the new state of each cell in terms of the current state of the cell and the states of the cells in its neighborhood. Typically, the rule for updating the state of cells is the same for each cell and does not change over time, and is applied to the whole grid simultaneously, though exceptions are known, such as the stochastic cellular automaton and asynchronous cellular automaton.

The primary classifications of cellular automata, as outlined by Wolfram, are numbered one to four. They are, in order, automata in which patterns generally stabilize into homogeneity, automata in which patterns evolve into mostly stable or oscillating structures, automata in which patterns evolve in a seemingly chaotic fashion, and automata in which patterns become extremely complex and may last for a long time, with stable local structures. This last class are thought to be computationally universal, or capable of simulating a Turing machine. Special types of cellular automata are reversible, where only a single configuration leads directly to a subsequent one, and totalistic, in which the future value of individual cells only depends on the total value of a group of neighboring cells. Cellular automata can simulate a variety of real-world systems, including biological and chemical ones. Via wikipedia

I used Golly to do some experiments with cellular automata.

Textilelab research Are.na board