Growth by Aggregation

Captivating digital arts programming

Name of the work: “Growth by Aggregation” and “Cellular Forms”

Created by: Andy Lomas

Country: United Kingdom

Where: Digital Village


Robert Dansby of the California Institute for the Arts discusses this work:

In “Growth by Aggregation” and “Cellular Forms” Andy Lomas writes modeling programs which set up rule structures which begin with single cells or small groups of cells reproducing, resulting in complex physical forms – a blending of scientific methodology, programming, modeling and digital image making.

The forms self-generate based on the rules which Lomas sets up, but are not driven in a formal, overarching design control as might be imagined in many programming, gaming or other rules determined scenarios. As the “cells” split the growth becomes more organic and amazingly complex.

This generative approach has precedents in the arts, notably in sound and media, but these generative works produce not only a particularly timebased viewing opportunity of automata or social systems of the formations themselves, ( many of his works take the form of motion based work) but as importantly a structure formed of the set instructions set forth initially and reflecting an organic, evolving chain of events.

Resembling a curious amalgam of coral, plant or animal, it is interesting to note that these events take a formal structure which are not only interesting in the documentation of the rich process of their making, but in the results of their formation.


These works come from a study of organic natural forms and their relationship to simple mathematical rules.

Influenced by the work of D’Arcy Thompson, Alan Turing and Ernst Haeckel, they study how intricate forms of plant and coral like structures can be created by digital simulation of flow and deposition.

Cellular Form 18_0011_0023

Cellular Form 18_0011_0023

The sculptural shapes are created by a process of accretion over time. They are gradually grown by simulating the paths of millions of particles randomly flowing in a field of forces. Over time they build on top of an initial simple seed surface to produce structures of immense complexity.

Andy Lomas Awards and Honours


Cellular Forms
Gold Award: Lumen Prize 2014

Cellular Forms
Honorary Mention: Prix Ars Electronica 2014

Cellular Forms: an artistic exploration of morphogenesis
Best Artwork Award: A-EYE Exhibition at AISB-50 2014

Jury recommended works, 2006 (10th) Japan Media Arts Festival

Jury recommended works, 2005 (9th) Japan Media Arts Festival

Honorary Doctorate
University of Teesside 2010

Honorary Masters Degree
University of Teesside 2004

Alice in Wonderland
Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries or Movie 1999
ITS Monitor Award, Best 3D Animation Film Originated Television Specials 2000

The Odyssey
Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects 1997

Blue Tentacles
Royal Television Society Award for Best Student Graphic Project 1992

AIDS: Sex, Lies and Stereotypes
Ian Nichol Award for Health Promotion 1990

Senior Scholarship in Mathematics
Trinity College Cambridge 1987

Note: The work that will be on display at Art & Algorithms is a video recording, shown with permission of Andy Lomas.  Here’s what he has to say about his work: