The Protean Reflex,

In the children's game of tag, that involves
one or more players chasing other players in
an attempt to "tag" or touch them,
experience learns that best chances to
escape occur when distance between chaser
and runner is at a minimum.
Experiments have shown that reaction-time to
unexpected stimuli is about 200ms, so within
this range, both players depend on automatic
reflexes, and the player with best reflexes
has best chances to win.

A hare chased by a fox appears to make a
random choice between different reflexes.
I have drawn a model for random choice based
on the dynamics of pursuit and evasion.
The dynamics place the moment of choice
within the 200ms range.
A trigger mechanism is responsible for the

A trigger is a mechanism you can find on a
lot of electronic music equipment.
It is a switch that is activated when the
volume of a piece of music crosses a certain
If this music is replaced with chaotic
noise, the switch will be triggered at an
unpredictable moment.

The model operates as follows;
The dynamics of pursuit and evasion (the
formal zeroing-in on the informal), push
decision time within the 200ms range, so
there is no time for a conscious decision.
This means that all information has become
indistinguishable, in other words;
information has become noise.
Above this noise a trigger mechanism is
operational, so an arbitrary choice is made
at an arbitrary moment.

A model like this does not necessarily
represent an actual functioning machine.
In this case it doesn't need to be because a
model is situated somewhere between idea and
realisation, and this is also the realm
where drawing itself operates.
So in this case it is sufficient for the
model to be logical and convincing to be
effective for the process of drawing.

(1) Humphries, D.A.; Driver, P. M. (1970)
"Protean defence by prey animals",


3.Move by Nature


4.the Paradoxical Reflex

5.the Protean Reflex

6.the WordPad
Glitch as a
metaphor for

7.Programming with Grawlixes


8.The ABC of
for the
autonomous artist

9.Jack Jack & de
Wandelende Feedback







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