Herson Guerrero Huh

Design Engineer
Herson Guerrero Huh (he/him) is an emerging design engineer and technical artist exploring the intersection of art, technology, and nature. With a passion for building digital experiences using creative web development libraries and frameworks, Herson delves into the emergent complexity found in natural and artificial systems.

As part of his MFA Design and Technology thesis project at Parsons, Herson investigated "mechanisms of emergence" through WebGPU and Unity implementations of SmoothLife and Lenia. This project serves as a visual exploration of the liminal space between the digital and the natural, inhabited by artificial life-forms. By simulating life through computational models, the project asks how biological systems might develop their form and highlights the complex, life-like patterns that emerge from simple rules and initial conditions.
Thesis Faculty
Kyle LiJessica MarshallDave CarrollLoretta Wolozin

Artificial Lifeforms

Artificial Lifeforms

Artificial lifeforms invite viewers to consider that life may not be defined by “the stuff that abides, but by the patterns that perpetuate themselves.” — Norbert Wiener

We can think of artificial lifeforms as machines that straddle the border between the living and the non-living. “They are made out of pixels!” discoverers will say, whoever they may be. While acknowledging their life-affirming behaviors, discoverers will question the legitimacy of their claim to life, noting their pixel-based composition. Some, however, will accept their technical origins, drawing parallels to the emergence of biological life from non-living components. After all, the first “biological machine” was made from chemical parts that were categorically different from the machine itself. “In the beginning, it was already a machine. It lay there, at the edge of the water, under the light of the sun…”.

As they exist today, artificial lifeforms are in an in-between state of being and non-being–a primordial soup with the necessary building blocks for artificial life to flourish. The primordial soup responds to periodic pulsations, which have been recorded to happen every 10 seconds. The origin of the pulsations is unknown–a mystery of the “machinic phylum.” What we know is that the primordial soup is especially sensitive to these pulsations–an adaptive behavior in its evolutionary history. It is taken out of equilibrium to the edge of chaos where it experiences a successful phase-transition, or it fizzles out.

A successful phase transition gives birth to higher-level forms: artificial lifeforms. These higher-level forms, however, have not adapted to survive the perturbations caused by the pulsations. They come into being and cease to exist in the space between one pulsation and the next. We can speculate that if this branch of evolution follows its current trajectory, the lifeforms will eventually develop resilience against the pulsing of the machinic phylum, survive the periodic cycles, and become building blocks for even higher level forms.


Artificial lifeforms are based on two continuous cellular automata, SmoothLife and Lenia. SmoothLife is the work of Stephan Rafler, published in ‘Generalization of Conway’s “Game of Life” to a continuous domain – SmoothLife’. Lenia is the work of Bert Chan, published in ‘Lenia – Biology of Artificial Life’