The burberrians gadget is a simple cellular automaton toy which makes any given cell in its grid more or less transparent based on what proportion of its neighbours are like it. There are two types of cells: those which include some Burberry or Burberry-like tartan, and those which do not. More similar neighbours fades a cell further towards invisible.
The starting point for this project was simple: with almost no knowledge of the subtleties of fashion, it became apparent to me that the Burberry tartan was taking over the world.
The inspirations for this are the idea of being "marked" and the cellular automaton, as pioneered by John Conway and recently brought to controversial prominence by Stephen Wolfram. An automaton, although it doesn't turn science upside down, lies at the computational heart of the piece, and the burberry scarf stands in for any distinguishing property whose presence or absence marks someone as different. In a room full of people who are speaking Esperanto, and English speaker is out of place, and so they are more notable to an observer. Burberry tartan is a relatively subtle marker in this case, but it does have its associations... namely that it is an expensive, conservative bit of cloth. We would expect genuine burberry to appear on people who exude well-to-do. It was probably a better indicator of well-to-do-ness a few years ago, but now with imitators rampant and eBay prices for burberry things ranging from a dollar to several hundred UK pounds, there is a burberry for quiet bus stops near Gouin as there is a Burberry for people in front of a glass office tower downtown.
I hope this piece sensitizes its viewers to some of its influences, and provides a few seconds of amusement while surfing along.
The commented source file (rather heavy due to high-res source files -- 7.8MB) is available, zipped, here.