My current research focuses on the evolutionary mechanism of art history. The basic philosophy of it comes from the thoughts of complex systems theory, especially the concept of emergence. Generally speaking, the Agent-Based Modeling and Simulation is introduced as the framework, and the major methods include Complex Network Analysis and Evolutionary Computation. Those approaches response to the characteristics of the issue in question by the following ways:
1. An agent-based model is used to simulate the actions and interactions of/among artists. The evolving of this model shows a dynamical system whose high-level properties are all emergent phenomena produced by individual but inter-connective agents.
2. The agents(i.e. the artists), which are endowed with some kind of capacity, propensity and aesthetic chromosomes, connect each other in the form of networked activities, by which the local knowledge will be emphasized opposed to traditional models which always have universal dispositions. And right here comes the network analysis.
3. The artists create art works according to their endowed and dynamically changed aesthetic chromosomes, which are built by symbols and have the ability of crossover and mutation. The aggregates of individual chromosomes will give birth to the art styles, art schools and so forth.
The key points here are the historical scope and the translation between scientific languages, which are characterized by falsifiability and verifiability, and artistic languages, which remain mysterious, inexpressible and irrational. By historical scope I mean that the analysis will try to take the evolution as a whole and treat it diachronically. And the war between sciences and arts, which is the main topic in most interdisciplinary studies, should be circumvented wisely. In this context, the fitness function needs be constructed properly to reflect the unique features of arts.
Other questions include whether this research is empirical, say, in the meaning that the output data fit the situation historiometrically. The most important insight about computer simulation is that simulations abstract the reality and bring out heuristic results which can not be obtained through normal ways, although one of its goals, perhaps the most valuable one, is to mirror the reality.