The Abstract Organism: Towards a Prehistory for A-Life Art

The author examines historical precedents for contemporary art practice using artificial life, in particular in the work of Paul Klee and Kasimir Malevich. Similarities are identified between artificial life and the philosophical tradition of organicism; specific examples from Klee and Malevich indicate that those artists were engaged in a form of creative organicist thought that imagined the realization of living structures in artificial media.