This exhibition, commissioned by Phoenix and created by interactive art group Genetic Moo, takes inspiration from the Daisyworld model, exploring interconnectedness as a way of making art and thinking about the world.

About the exhibition

The main projection is called Biocybernetic Universal System Tendency (B.U.S.T.) which was Lovelock’s alternative name for GAIA. B.U.S.T. is a multiplayer ecological art/puzzle game – the aim is to keep the world’s resources in balance. There are various agents which generate abstract pixel-based patterns representing nature, climate, technology and civilization. Waves of colour sweep across the screen from epoch to epoch. As the system becomes more chaotic the players must work together and program ‘bots’. These are sent into the world to convert, eat and excrete coloured pixels across the map – trying to restore balance and rescue the planet from destruction.

Also on show is Carbon Cyclers, a generative animation showcasing the results of our collaborative Creative Coding workshops where the locals of Leicester produced their own animating Coccolithophores, microscopic creatures which play a huge role in the planetary cycle of carbon.

Finally, watching over the show is Mother Volcano, an ever-changing animal planet.

About the artists

Genetic Moo is a collaboration between Nicola Schauerman and Tim Pickup. They are a creative coding couple inspired by popular science, particularly in the areas of ecology, symbiosis, morphology, mutation and artificial life.

They have shown large-scale interactive exhibitions across the UK and abroad, including Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Norway; Eckert Art Gallery, Pennsylvania; The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran; The Science Centre, Singapore; Eureka! Halifax; LABoral, Gijon; Watermans, London; ICC Open Sky Gallery, Hong Kong; Dreamland, Margate; Glastonbury and The Wellcome Collection. They work closely with Lumen Art Projects and are members of the artists collective The London Group.

Gallery soundscape by Julia Schauerman.

About Phoenix

The Phoenix art programme explores the creative and cultural impact of new media and technologies, offering new ways of looking at our rapidly changing world.

Their programme is interactive and playful. They offer audience opportunities to take part and co-create through technology.

Daisyworld Resources

You can access various versions of the Daisyworld simulation online:


  • Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour, 2018
  • Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Donna Haraway, 2016
  • In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism, Isabelle Stengers 2015
  • Gaia’s Game, Niklas Schrape, 2014


Books that have inspired us:

  • Everything by James Lovelock, of course :uD and, in particular:
  • The ages of Gaia – A biography of our living Earth – good on Daisyworld Model
  • and Novacene-The coming Age of Hyperintelligence talks about humans working with robots to save the planet

On computer science:

  • Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams by Mitchel Resnick 1997
  • The Tinkertoy Computer by A.K.Dewdney – all about Turmites, (everything by Dewdney is great and is the reason Tim got into creative coding)
  • Growing Artificial Societies by Joshua M. Epstein
  • Complex Adaptive Systems by John H. Miller and Scott E. Page
  • The Recursive Universe by William Poundstone 2013 on cellular automata
  • Diversity and Complexity by Scott E. Page
  • All the books by John Holland on Complex Adaptive Systems are approachable
  • Complexity a guided tour by Melanie Mitchell is a great overview of this exciting newish science

On the planet:

  • The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra is a great intro to Systems Theory
  • Animate Earth – Science, Intuition and Gaia by Stephan Harding
  • The Patterning Instinct and The Web of Meaning by Jeremy Lent

Artificial Life Videos: