The Varsity

The University of Toronto's
Student Newspaper Since 1880

Systems Sculpture

Medium: photography & digital sculpture

By Matthew Jarvis Wall
Published: 2:03 am, 6 February 2012
Modified: 3 pm, 6 February 2012

Computers and information networks are becoming increasingly prevalent in our everyday lives, making us rethink the way we participate in the production of art and design. The cornerstones of classical aesthetics in art — autonomy of form, singularity of vision, and totality of message — become less relevant as artists and designers turn towards the “systemic” as their aesthetic.
Generative design refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art. Generative art is, in this sense, self-automating by nature. Self-automation is a seemingly contradictory notion, an intrinsically mechanical process that also speaks to the complex forms and behaviours observed in nature.
These four sculptures, each intended to be emblematic of an academic discipline at the University of Toronto, represent only single instances of constantly shifting and unfolding generative algorithms. “Systems Sculpture” is an attempt to negotiate the physical and virtual qualities of these generative sculptures, and also a means by which students can explore and visualize new art on campus.


  • voxbox

    These are all beautiful designs.

  • ArtLover

    Really great representations and perfectly implemented. Inspirational Matthew

  • UofTstudent

    This dude could get a job at an architectural firm doing rendering, as for whether he is an artist, i cant see anyone buying, conceptually or monetarily, into this stuff. He isnt much of a thinker either