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Mutiertes L-System

As L-systems have gained much popularity in the creative coding community, deriving from one of the most common established practices in biology and media informatics for modeling plants, applied in simulations, computer games and CGI-driven movies, L-systems have a strong influence on how plants are being represented in the media and therefore also on how we perceive and value them.

This sculptural work researches L-systems as interfaces of entanglement of the so-called 'natural' and 'artificial'.

Installation View Mutiertes L-System

On L-systems as interfaces of entanglement of the so-called 'natural' and 'artificial'

The biologist Aristid Lindenmayer initially designed L-systems in 1968 for modeling the behavior of plant cells. Later Lindenmayer reworked L-systems towards modeling whole plant organisms.

L-systems on the one hand are used for researching "principles that unify apparently diverse phenomena", as the "Biological Modeling and Visualization research group" states on their website "Algorithmic Botany". This explicit agenda of unifying the diversity of plants’ growth processes shows how L-systems as formalizations are being inherently reductionist. Here L-systems function as a tool of translating growing plants with their interwoven, interdependent and spontanoeus qualities into grammar-based, quantified rulesets.

On the other hand L-systems are an important tool in the practices of creative coding for synthesizing images of plants in an often naturalist approach and offer an important interface of blending phenomena labeled as 'natural' into the realms of the 'artificial'.

Both applications have a common focus on the outer hull of plants and their architectural structure and less on the biochemical processes that actually cause the growth.

Mutiertes L-System, 2017 - 2019

This work subversively explores these processes of formalizations by reversing them.

Mutiertes L-System is the physically grown L-system algorithm. From a software origin as a L-System rule, it migrates into the physical world. By mutating and developing situational architectural structures it adapts to its new spatial environment.

The substrate of the kinetic sculpture consists of a carbon skeleton and plastic joints, that are being arragend by this l-systematic rule, that prescribes how every branch should generate two new branches, rotated around two axis and bent around 89.8 degree:

‘F’ ⟼ “Fx[-z-xFx][+z+xFx]”

Following this rule the L-system sprawls and in addition to that grows spontaneous support structures. These support structures disobey the ruleset that it’s based on, but are neccessary to let the physical L-system become as stable as possible.

Muscle wires are clamped from joint to joint to give the sculpture its ability to move. These muscle wires react with contraction to heat, that is being induced by transistor boards around 12 Volts and controlled via a microcontroller.

Close Up L-System Lukas Stöver - Mutiertes L-System Digital Media Lukas Stöver Media Art L-System Installation View

Awards & Recognition


  • Blooming Festival 2019
    Mutiertes L-System
    Festival di arti numeriche e culture digitali
    Curated by Frederica Patti and Quiet Ensemble
    Pergola PU, Italy
  • Wired Narratives
    Exhibition at Galerie Kramer
    23.03. - 12.05.2019
    Bremen, Germany
  • Transparent Festival
    Exhibition at Lovelace Hotel
    Curated by Kalonoma
    Munich, Germany
  • Hochschultage 2018
    Exhibition at University of the Arts
    10.02. - 11.02.2018
    Bremen, Germany


Thanks to


all workshref zine ↩︎↪︎ Tesserakt
Lukas Stöver Instagram Lukas Stöver Ello