For this Looking Outward Post, I found an artist who made beautiful quilts based on randomness. Susan of SKquiltlabs made the particular quilt (pictured above named “Random Vector”) from a layout that is based on a random number generator for pattern orientation.
A lot is not said on the site I found Susan’s works, about the algorithms used for randomness. However, it does mention a random number generator is involved in some way.
The creator’s artistic sensibilities are manifest in the final form through the way the randomly generated pieces fall together so effortlessly. There are no signs of messiness or lack of care, although that sometimes may be assumed when “randomness” is involved. There is a natural pattern in her art through the randomness.
This reminds me that although future assignments in this class may require some level of randomness generating, the artist has a certain level of control over how the final art piece turns out. It is ultimately up to the artist in how much control they choose to exert.
I asked my friends if they knew of any randomly generated art projects, and someone brought a 15-112 project to my attention. Lingdong Huang (a student at Carnegie Mellon) created a procedurally generated world for a side scroll game called Hermit. He created beautiful three-dimensional landscapes that interact with one another and have some sort of depth.
If I am understanding it correctly, the artist coded a few shapes, and then randomly generated the rest of the pictures. So there are millions of different random combinations of shapes to create the tree, the ground, and the things the character and his horse can do.
This is the video that Lingdong Huang posted for his project. It is very dramatic.
In the project, Random Numbers, Marius Wats, a generative artist, collaborates with Jer Thorp to create a series of visualizations that demonstrates data of random numbers. They described that their project is about “pseudo-random compositions of radial shapes, subtly distorted by a 3D surface that lends the image a strong focal point and sense of movement.”
I think that the randomness of this artwork really adds to the aesthetic of the piece. The artist combines two factors that are usually not juxtaposed together: randomness and data. Data is something that is really not random but by adding randomness to it, the artist demonstrates an aesthetic for the visualization.
Swarm Light was an installation created by Random International, a collaborative studio founded by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass. This installation explores artificial intelligence in motion using self-organising systems. These systems do have an “order” to them, but what I really admire about this project is how the randomness within the lights in this piece creates a swarm effect as a reaction to movement and surroundings that immerses observers to feel as though the installation is alive. The project itself is made from “LEDs, polished brass rods, custom circuit boards, custom driver software and hard ware, behavioral algorithm, sound / motion sensors, computer & interface”. What really comes through the piece is the inspiration that the creators got to create it, which was the efficiency of flocks of birds and how they react to their surroundings.
For this post, I decided to look at the work of Marius Watz, specifically his contribution to the “Random Number Multiples” series. All contributors create prints that engage with new techniques, and Marius Watz decided to experiment with computational randomness. Watz created two prints, both part of an “arc” series, that are described as “pseudo-random compositions of radial shapes, subtly distorted by a 3D surface that lends the image a strong focal point and sense of movement.”
First of all, I simply like the aesthetics of this project; I think that the final prints are very interesting to look at. Secondly, I think it’s interesting how the art was generated on a computer and then transferred onto a physical print. In a time where everything’s digitized, it can be tempting to just leave digital art on the computer, but I think that there’s a benefit to bringing that art into the physical world. Finally, while I can tell that aspects of the art were random, the piece is nonetheless cohesive, something that I find intriguing.
The artist describes the composition as “pseudo-random”, so the randomness was heavily biased and deterministic—not “truly random”, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless. From the final product, I can tell that Watz has an appreciation for both color and form.
Berlin-based photographer, Polina Efremova, explored what would happen by taking a step back in terms of technology. A lot of us rely on the newest technology to get us through the day and I admire Efremova, by counter intuitively doing the opposite. Efremova’s series called “Destruction” organically and randomly generates glitch art. However, Efremova was forced to abandon this project due to the sudden popularity in glitch art at the time. She thought that her releasing this type of workwould just underscore the meaning and intent behind the photo.
The process is a rather analog process but is full of randomness. Efremova would take a video with current photography technology and play it on an outdated computer, which the computer would have trouble rendering thus ending up with a glitchy screen. Efremova would be able to easily confuse the computer with a series of rapid pauses and plays thus resulting in the glitches. The outcome is some highly complex and complicated images that take some time to decode created by mechanical randomness.
Daniel Brown is a designer, coder and artist for commission that takes on a variety of projects. One of his jobs was to create a visual display for Selfridge’s in London. In his work called “Appliqué”, he made a fractal textile fabric with generative code. It’s randomized, and never repeats itself. It seems like the code would have a lot of recursive functions that calls itself in for-loops to establish the relationship from one part of the textile to the next. Daniel Brown was inspired by traditional embroidery heritage and working with fabrics and textiles, so his work was made to imitate the movement and texture of the fabric. You can see more of his work here.
The piece I chose to reflect on today is “Two hands, one loop.” This is a piece by the artist, J.Eric Morales.
I chose this piece because the shapes and outlines are computed and drawn to be very random. But in the end, the shapes and outlines have a purpose and form something recognizable. In fact, the shapes are created of a single line. Learning this, I admire this piece even more. At first glance, the portions besides the hand look unstructured. However, all being strung together by one single line gives the piece unity and cohesiveness. The random movement of the line forms shapes come together that and even form a greater story. I really admire this because it shows that the artist had such an abstract way of thinking, but a very definite plan and objective of the piece.
I couldn’t find any information on how the artist computed the algorithms and randomness in the work. But, I suppose he had the line have random distance between the first and second point and then when it got to the placements of the hand, the random possibilities of distances got smaller.
Link to other projects Morales completed are found here
This project is a program that generates random modernist art by Don Relyea. It’s the third iteration, and with each iteration, Relyea incorporated new elements and features into his program.
I really admire Relyea’s thinking behind his programs. On his documentation page, he writes about how artists can truly never be replicated by programs, because they make spontaneous, intuitive decisions. However, he says that by logically breaking down choices an artist might make, a program can create a fairly good (and fast) approximation of art. Because he programs the generator to make decisions like an artist, Relyea’s artistic sensibilities are represented in the algorithms. However, It is not completely random, because the generator bases the art off of pre-selected color palates.
The last time the algorithm was updated seems to be 2010.
Exhibition in Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge by John Cage
Computer-generated Random Numbers Determined Media, Composition and Color of the Art Work
John Cage is known for the use of randomness in his art. In his art works in The Kettles Yard exhibition, Cage used computer generated random numbers to determine which row of stones, which brush to use, and the position of the stone on the paper. After generating such randomness, he finally paints around the stone. He also uses randomness in the form of exhibition, using computer generated-coordinates to determine the heights and positions of the pictures. Even during the exhibition, art pieces are removed and added through the random process.
I think his approach to randomness is remarkable because unlike Jackson Pollock, who used randomness as a controlled expression, Cage completely sacrificed his control to use chance operation. Art has been considered as a form of expressed feelings. However, Cage in Kettles Yard completely challenged this notion of traditional art and enlighten public with the beauty of randomness.