Nine Gardens: Malespina

Nine Gardens
Contact: Angela Ferraiolo <>

A generative work for multiple screens:
– work-in-progress
– gardens evolve via BDI agent schemes
– inspired by Yuan ‘mind as landscape’ philosophies
– live computed

Description: Nine Gardens is a series of slowly evolving digital landscapes meant to represent the interior states of fictional characters. Each garden relies on a system of agents and signals to generate character states then model these as visual elements on screen. In addition to signals from their environment, the agents that make up each garden rely on internal schemes of deliberation to decide their appearance. Deliberation rules were conceived of as ‘character states’. The aim of the project is to portray character as a dynamic system as opposed to a conventional view of character as a system of wants and goals.

For the Malespina garden, the following decisions helped structure the work: Each agent gives form to one of the visual elements that make up the garden as a whole. Agents don’t aspire to goals and don’t pose dramatic questions of action or destiny, but they do have states they want to maintain or opposing states they want to enter. Agent identities are rulesets which, in the tradition of landscape as metaphor, were written to define character in terms of shape, color, motion, and behavior. Agents can perceive their environment and adapt to change either individually or collectively. Depending on the procedural nature of a character, some agent rules are fixed while other rules are mutable. Although agents have some autonomy when making internal revisions, they do not have the ability to deviate from their rulesets completely. Instead, rules are intended to foster the creation of a range of visual responses coherent to their owners.