Frederik Vanhoutte



I’m a 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 year old medical radiation physicist with a PhD in experimental solid state physics. This site is my way of keeping some blood flowing to the right side of my brain. Without it, I would probably tip over to port.


When rain hits the windscreen, I see tracks alpha particles trace in cells. When I pull the plug in the bath tub, I stay to watch the little whirlpool. When I sit at the kitchen table, I play with the glasses to see the caustics. At a candle light dinner, I stare into the flame. Sometimes at night, I find myself behind the computer. When I finally blink, a mess of code is drawing random structures on the screen. I spend the rest of the night staring.


Bear with me on this one. One of the storylines of William Gibson’s novel Count Zero concerns the Boxmaker, part of a fragmented artificial intelligence residing in an orbiting space station. It’s only remaining purpose is creating Joseph Cornell type boxes from floating debris. Boxmaker is in a way a descendant of two other A.I.s, Neuromancer and Wintermute.
The image of this construct creating art by disassembling complex items, going beyond the limits of its mechanical programming, has remained with me ever since I first read the novel. When I started playing around with generative algorithms in 2004, I thought Wintermute to be a fitting name, quite wrongly as I would later realise. The name, shortened to W:Mute (in part because other webdomains were unavailable), was especially appropriate since a) my original intention was to never address you, the viewer and b) winter has always had a special significance for my family.
Anyway, taking a name from a novel isn’t a smart move, especially from a popular one. Aside from this, there were other reasons to step away from the original Wintermute. Generative coding builds complexity from simple things, quite the opposite of the original Wintermute. And fundamentally the generative code is guided to its final form by an inescapable human sense of esthetics. So the machine-like nature of Wintermute, however striking the imagery is, was actually not what I intended to convey.

So W:Mute became W:Blut or Winterblut, Warmblut, Wereblut,… No longer mute.