An artist and computer scientist, Peter Beyls is a pioneer in the use of cellular automata in the field of computer music. His work is focused on generative systems, with which he produces algorithmic drawings, interactive music systems, and audiovisual installations.


Website of Peter Beyls:

Kortrijk (Belgium), 1950

Peter Beyls earned a Graduate degree in Electronic Engineering at VHTI, Kortrijk, in 1972, and in the following years continued his studies in sound engineering and music history at the Royal Music Conservatory in Brussels (1973-74), studied music and computer science at the Elektronmusik Studion (EMS) in Stockholm (1974) and Ghent University (1974-76). In 1977, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he studied at the Slade School of Art, University College London. Later on, he entered the VUB Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Brussels University as a researcher and became the Director of the Media Program (1985-90). He continued his research on evolutionary computing and interactive music systems, leading to his PhD in Computer Science, “Music As Complex Emergent Behaviour, An Approach to Interactive Music Systems”, from the University of Plymouth, which he earned in 2010. Since the 1980s, he has developed an extensive professional career as artist, researcher, lecturer, and curator, having been involved with ISEA (the Inter-society of Electronic Art), the VUB International Festival of Media Art in Brussels, and the Algorists collective, among others.

Initially active in electronic music, Beyls developed various analog live electronic music systems in the 1970s, and over the years his interests evolved to time-sharing computers and laptop performances. He pioneered the use of cellular automata in the field of computer music while at the VUB AI-Lab. His work has been widely exhibited and performed at conferences like Siggraph, ICMC, Imagina, ISCM, Generative Arts and ISEA. Beyls’ work has primarily centered on generative systems, including extensive series of machine drawings, human-machine interactive music systems using machine-learning and interactive audiovisual installations, many of them using computer-vision. A clear line of thought underpins the evolution of his artistic thinking: from methodologies borrowed from conventional AI (knowledge-based systems) to Artificial Life oriented systems exploring the notion of emergent functionality.