William Latham is well known as an early pioneer of Generative Art through his Mutator Evolutionary Art created at IBM in the late eighties and early nineties. His work, which shows strange organic, often serpentine, forms, is produced using his “alternative evolutionary software system” (developed with Stephen Todd and team), which Latham uses to pick and breed 3D forms freed from the limits of the human imagination.
His work was widely shown in museums and touring shows in UK, Germany, Australia and Japan at that time. Latham’s work is focused on using evolutionary processes to create art centred on the idea of “Artist as Gardener,” an idea which originated from his time as Henry Moore Scholar at the Royal College of Art in the early eighties where he created his FormSynth drawings and etchings which were to become a blueprint for his later Mutator work. On leaving IBM in the mid-nineties he set up a studio in Soho and moved into working in Rave Music where his organic art had built up a big following in the emerging Rave and Cyberculture scene. After three years he and his team of around 70 people then moved into developing games working with Warner Bros and Universal Studios, in 2002 they created the hit game The Thing based on the John Carpenter movie which used his organic style.
In 2007 he moved away from entertainment and become a Professor in Computer Art at Goldsmiths where he restarted his creative collaboration with IBM mathematician and programmer Stephen Todd. They resurrected and extended their old Mutator code and pushed the technology into VR creating highly novel organic immersive experiences for the public. The VR work has been shown in many touring exhibitions in China, Japan, Peru, Belgium and UK. Mutator VR uses his core evolutionary ideas but also shows strong influence from Rave and interactivity from games. Recently he has worked on his Fantasy Virus Mutator series and more recently again has been working in B+W on his Infinity Mirror series of images that can be described as “Computer Gothic”, influenced by Durer’s engravings on the one hand and electron microscopy on the other.
Latham’s work is in the permanent art collections of The Pompidou Centre Paris, The V&A, The Gulbenkian Foundation and The Henry Moore Institute.