If/Then: True Randomness
and False Certainty

Thirteen multidisciplinary thinkers probe the ubiquity of randomness across culture and science. Considering markets, weather systems, evolutionary leaps, and world generation in videogames, the invited contributors trace the contours of chance, ‘luck,’ and random number generation from its Cold War military-industrial complex origins to contemporary software art.
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Timo ArnallTimo Arnall is London-based interaction designer and filmmaker. A creative director at the influential studio BERG (2005-13), he subsequently launched game, media, and product design initiatives at Playdeo and Ottica. Arnall has worked on numerous projects for Google ATAP and Google AR & VR, and is currently a designer at Apple.

“Hidden in Plain Sight” (p.188-201) → Will Wright visits Arnall’s London Studio in the aftermath of BERG’s closure, and learns about the infrastructure and networks that underpin everyday life

Ryoichi Kurokawa Ryoichi Kurokawa is a Berlin-based artist working across installation, media, and performance. A self-described ‘sculptor of time,’ his works deconstruct images and motifs from the natural world and reconstitute them digitally. Kurokawa has presented work at venues including Tate, Centre Pompidou, and the Venice Biennale.

“Orders of Magnitude” (p.032-043) → Dorothy Feaver visits Kurokawa’s Berlin Studio as he is in the midst of scaling up his practice and experimenting with digital fabrication

Jürg Lehni Jürg Lehni is a Swiss artist and designer working collaboratively across disciplines. His works often take the form of platforms and scenarios for production, ranging from hardware drawing machines to software frameworks. Lehni has exhibited at global venues including MoMA, the V&A, and Centre Pompidou.

“The Ghost Writer” (p.060-071) → Vera Sacchetti visits Lehni’s Zurich studio after his delivery of his drawing machine Viktor to SFMOMA (where it was added to the permanent collection)

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is a Mexican-Canadian artist whose rich interactive works take the form of robotic lights, digital fountains, computerized surveillance, and telematic networks. Career highlights include his being the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale and his works being collected by MoMA, Tate, and the Guggenheim.

“Citizens United” (p.164-177) → HOLO’s Greg J. Smith visits Lozano-Hemmer’s Montreal studio to demo a dozen works-in-progress and talk about the politics of public space

Vera MolnarDiligently making art with computers since her first plotter drawings in the ’60s, Vera Molnar’s practice pioneered what is now called generative art. Recently, enjoying long overdue attention from venues including MoMA and the Venice Biennale—at 98 years old—Molnar is one of the most important living digital artists.

“Machine Imaginaire” (p.044-059) → HOLO’s Alexander Scholz visits Molnar’s Paris studio shortly after “(Un)Ordnung. (Dés)Ordre,” her retrospective at Museum für Konkrete Kunst

Katie PatersonKatie Paterson is a Scottish artist whose objects and installations—evoking glaciers, moonlight, the cosmos—force viewers to confront their place on Earth in the context of geological time. She has exhibited globally at venues including Turner Contemporary, Tate, and MCA Sydney.

“All the Time in the World” (p.178-187) → Daniel West visits Paterson’s Berlin studio as her ambitious Future Library project kicks off (featured novelist Margaret Atwood makes a cameo in the piece)

Tale of TalesTale of Tales was the two decade creative partnership of Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn. Spanning the early days of to undefinable sublime vidoegame-adjacent interactive experiences, the duo worked outside of convention and were far ahead of their time.

“Endgame” (p.072-083) → Simon Parkin visits Harvey and Samyn’s Ghent studio after the release of Sunset—the final videogame the duo made together


Scott AaronsonScott Aaronson is the Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin. He examines the limits of quantum computers, and computational complexity theory. He is the author of Quantum Computing Since Democritus (2013) and formerly was an Associate Professor at MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (2007-16).

🗨️ “The Software Artist & The Theoretical Computer Scientist” (p.114-119): Aaronson and Casey Reas discuss how randomness courses through the universe

Dorothy FeaverDorothy Feaver is a Berlin based writer and editor, whose art writing has been published widely. Since 2018 she has acted as producer and curator of Pervilion, a nomadic exhibition series that “helps things grow in the cracks” (where other institutions fall short).

🖊️ “Orders of Magnitude” (p.032-043): a longform profile of Berlin-based audiovisual artist Ryoichi Kurokawa

Coralie GourguechonCoralie Gourguechon is a Marseille-based designer who investigates the lifecycle of electronic and digital devices, from the inner workings of components to infrastructures and supply chains involved in their manufacturing. Recent projects include a restaging of her elegant single copper wire Wall Radio (2022), and the prototype modular Paperlight Wall (2018) at Atelier Luma.

🎨 “Cryptoclock”: an ingenious Paper Random Number Generator (PRNG) included as an insert with each issue

Eva HillreinerEva Hillreiner is an illustrator that splits her time between Bavaria and Sweden. Her illustrations have appeared in GQ, Die Zeit, and SZ Magazine.

🎨 “Meme” (p.095-145): bite-sized ruminations on the science behind five big ifs

Michelle KasprzakMichelle Kasprzak is an artist, writer, curator, and educator. She has curated exhibitions across Europe and North America and her writing has appeared in publications including C Magazine, Volume, and Spacing. In 2020, she received a PhD from a joint UT Austin & University of Porto program, with a focus on the intersection of curation and social innovation.

🖊️ “Twentieth Century Faux” (p.146-147): thirteen errant predictions that reveal our grasp of ‘the future’ is tenuous

Geoff ManaughGeoff Manaugh is a Los-Angeles based writer focused on cities, design, crime, infrastructure, and technology. His writing has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, New Scientist, and Cabinet, and he is the author of books including Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine (2021), and A Burglar’s Guide to the City (2016).

🖊️ “Eminent Domain” (p.214-225): does the arrival of the Oculus Rift mark the beginning of a new era for virtual reality?

Simon ParkinSimon Parkin is a British author and journalist for magazines, newspapers, and websites. He is contributing writer for the New Yorker, a regular contributor to the Guardian‘s Long Read, a critic for The Observer, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (RHS). He is the author of Death by Video Game (2017) and A Game of Birds and Wolves (2021).

🖊️ “Endgame” (p.072-083): a longform profile of Ghent-based (art) videogame designers Tale of Tales

Paul PrudencePaul Prudence is a writer and artist. His essays have been featured in Reliquiae and Substance, and he is a regular contributor to Neural. His audiovisual work has been featured internationally at festivals including Ars Electronica and MUTEK. He is the author of Figured Stones: Exploring the Lithic Imaginary (2022), “a manifesto on rock veneration and an exploration of deep-time consciousness.”

✎ “One Million Random Digits” (p.088-093): the curious history of random number generation—from the Manhattan Project to post-Snowden security

Casey ReasCasey Reas is a Los Angeles-based software artist and Professor within the UCLA Design Media Arts program. Over the last two decades Processing, the open source programming environment for the visual arts that he co-initiated, has introduced tens of thousands of students to creative coding. Artworks by Reas are held in collections including the Centre Georges Pompidou and SFMOMA.

🖊️ “A Rude and Undigested Mass” (p.086-087): a rumination on chance as a creative catalyst—and what giving up (some) control means for authorship

Jim RossingolJim Rossignol is an author, game designer, and publisher. He co-founded the PC gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which began in 2007. More recently he co-founded the videogame studio Big Robot, who have created games including Sir, You Are Being Hunted (2014) and The Signal From Tölva (2017).

🖊️ “To Infinity … and Beyond!” (p.122-127): a videogame travelogue of a trillion random worlds

Daniel RourkeDaniel Rourke creates collaborative frameworks and theoretical toolsets for exploring the intersections of digital materiality, the arts, and posthumanism. Based in London, he is the recipient of a PhD from Goldsmiths in 2019, and is a lecturer within its MA in Digital Media program.

🖊️ “Results May Vary” (p.096-99): an illustrated guide to ten works of art drawing on (and with) unpredictable forces

Vera SacchettiVera Sacchetti is a Basel-based design critic and curator. She specializes in contemporary design and architecture and serves in curatorial, research and editorial roles. She specializes in contemporary design and architecture and serves in a variety of curatorial, research and editorial roles. She is currently program coordinator of Driving the Human: Seven Prototypes for Eco-social Renewal (2020–23) research initiative, and co-initiator of the Design and Democracy platform (2020–).

🖊️ “The Ghost Writer” (p.060-071): a longform profile of Swiss artist and designer Jürg Lehni

Karsten SchmidtKarsten Schmidt (also known as Toxi) was one of the earliest contributors to the Processing community and director of the London-based design studio Post Spectacular. Now based in Allgäu (DE), he is the force beyond—an open source collection of programming libraries. Schmidt’s software art has been exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA and the V&A.

🎨 “Crystal Math” (p.000-225): HOLO 2’s invited guest artist, Schmidt developed a genetic programming system to generate the cover art and images appearing throughout the issue

Daniel ShiffmanDaniel Shiffman is an Associate Arts Professor within NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts ITP program. He is a director of The Processing Foundation and develops tutorials, examples, and libraries for Processing and p5.js. Shiffman is the author of Learning Processing (2008) and The Nature of Code (2012), and hosts The Coding Train on YouTube.

🖊️ “Form Follows Function” (p.128-135): code and commentary on five classic algorithms that use random values to generate complex form

Scott SmithScott Smith is founder and managing partner of Changeist, a futures research and consulting partnership established in 2007 in the United States, now based in the Netherlands. He has consulted for organizations including UNICEF, Nesta, and the Dubai Future Foundation, and he is author of How to Future (2020).

🖊️ “Boom, Bust, Repeat?” (p.136-143): digging into the theories of an obscure Soviet economist to make sense of the nascent predictive analytics industry

Georgina VossGeorgina Voss examines how large-scale technologies, complex systems, and heavy industry are perceived, imagined, and experienced. She is Director of Supra Systems Studio (UAL London), recipient of the 2022 Vilem Flusser Artistic Research Residency, and received a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Sussex.

🖊️ “Super Symmetry” (p.202-213): aligning art and science at CERN, STEI, and other global research institutes

Fanqiao WangFanqiao Wang is a London-based illustrator. An in-house artist at COLORS for three years (2012-14), Wang has contributed to Quartz, Leap, and Ikea’s kids-at-home manual.

🎨 “Results May Vary” (p.096-99): an illustrated guide to ten works of art drawing on (and with) unpredictable forces

Daniel WestAs a journalist, Daniel West has filed reports on “the contours of the Anthropocene across science, technology, and economics“ from London, Berlin, and Beijing.

🖊️ “All the Time in the World” (p.178-187): a longform profile of conceptual artist Katie Paterson

Mitchell WhitelawMitchell Whitelaw is a Professor of Design in the School of Art and Design at the Australian National University. His interests include digital design and culture, data practices, more-than-human worlds, and digital collections. His work has appeared in Leonardo, Digital Creativity, and Senses and Society, and his current research investigates environmental and biodiversity visualization.

🖊️ “Meme” (p.095-145): bite-sized ruminations on the science behind five big ifs

Will WilesWill Wiles is a London-based author and journalist with a deep interest in design and architecture. He is the author of the novels Plume (2019), The Way Inn (2014), and Care of Wooden Floors (2012), and his writing has been published in outlets including The Guardian, Cabinet, and New Statesman.

🖊️ “Hidden in Plain Sight” (p.188-201): a longform profile of interaction designer and filmmaker Timo Arnall


“If everything happens for a reason, then the universe is a well-oiled narrative machine. An encounter that leads to romance: predestined. A winning lottery ticket: lucky. Your birth: significant. Or is it?”

Included: Cryptoclock—A Paper
Random Number Generator

The handiwork of designer Coralie Gourguechon and collaborator Jacopo Atzori, each copy of HOLO 2 comes with a PRNG (paper random number generator) for you to assemble. Not quite a timepiece and not quite a compass, this ‘cryptoclock’ can dial up random numbers around the clock.


Release: November 2016
Dimensions: 220 x 290 mm
Pages: 236

Included: Paper random number generator, gate-fold timeline

HOLO 2 is printed in and shipped from Berlin (DE)

ISSN 2292-0919


Team HOLO: Alexander Scholz, Filip Visnjic, Greg J. Smith, Sherry Kennedy

Art Direction & Design:
zmyk, Oliver Griep & Jan Spading

Supplementary Editorial:
Alexander Scholz, Greg J. Smith

Copy Editor:
Andrew Wilmot

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