The artwork that I would like to talk about today is from an artist named Jean Arp. This artwork is called According to the Laws of Chance, and it is made in the year 1933. The process of generating the art was dropping painted pieces of paper onto a surface. The idea is rather similar to that of Jackson Pollock’s drip painting, but this artwork dates back to before Pollack made his famous action paintings. The artist has other randomly generated art that is created in similar fashion, but the this particular artwork stood out to me.
What I admire about Arp’s art is that despite being randomly created, it is still on a rather subtle scale, where there aren’t too much clashing elements that compete for attention. The artist’s use of white space is what really gives this simple artwork the praise it deserves. The title really describes the artwork well, and I find the simplicity in the art to be very resembling of the design of nature.
Regarding the process, it is not a completely random piece of art. For one, the color of the paint was determined by the artist, and the number of the painted papers dropped was also in his control. The random aspects that go into the process are the shapes of the papers and where they are dropped.
The artist’s artistic sensibilities are manifested into the final form, when he is able to make deeply impactful pieces through the usage of randomness itself. Beauty is traditionally not attributed to randomness, but rather repetition and harmony, but Arp was able to tie the two together where randomness was used to create unsymmetrical yet harmonic piece.
Created 2013 by Martin Krzywinki, the art work above, called the Faces of Randomnessis a digital work created by drawing lines between the digit transitions of sixteen different random 1,000 digit numbers. I find this work very interesting because though all the numbers are different and random, the resulting circles look oddly similar even though they are all in fact unique. I suppose that the artist used an algorithm to generate sixteen random 1,000 digit numbers because it would be infeasible to obtain them from the real world. The artist’s sensibilities can be seen in the placement and colors chosen to make up the work, making it pleasing to the eye to look at.
This artwork was inspired by the art of randomness that Jackson Pollock has expressed in his artworks. In VAAS, students in vocational training put on a physical art show. The piece embodies the mood of the “60s era Cambodian rock music” through a live painting performance. It captures randomness during the performance because they try to express their theme, “riot of colors”. On a big canvas, a group of students paints on the white surface with body movements and objects such as brooms, leaves, and shoes. I admire this piece of art because sometimes randomness can be hard in a society with high technological development. I feel like this artwork was possible for students to present it because teenagers are known to be youthful and free. During the performance, they did not have any rules to how they painted; they ended a creating and expressing their youth in dreams with many shades of color and motion. This work is hung up on the VAAS courtyard so that visitors get to see when they enter the school. I respect this type of randomness in art because it is closer to playing rather than very calculated strokes.
This week I will be discussing art created by Rami Hammour, and alum of the Rhode Island School of Design. His work deals in generation and randomness, not without limitations though. Each art piece has a different set of parameters so I’ll discuss two examples.
“A Text of Random Meaning”
“This text-like visualization is a mapping of a “Register and Taps” random number generator in action. The drawing comparing three registers: 9, 11 and 13. It shows the difference in values, and counting of the generated numbers while highlighting the taps.” -Rammi Hammour
The limits of this piece are in the three different registers and the visual part of the piece is able to have some sense of flow and form because of it.
“Exhaustive Permutation and Bubble Sort”
“A 30-60-90 Triangle could meets with another identical triangle in defined 7 different ways. If no repetition occurred this will yield an exhaustive 5040 assembly. 8 triangles are needed to exhaustively have all 7 cases in each assembly, also conditional to no repetition occurring.”
Studying the purpose of ‘randomness’ in computational art is that really, it’s hard to get completely random results, as otherwise a piece might be limitless. In order to make the piece function and flow some limitation must be present. Even in the example from class with the “limitless” moving squares. They were limited by the canvas, by color, and by size though labeled random.
Kenneth Martin‘s Chance and Order series, created in 1971-2, is a well known piece of art that implements stochastic synthesis in its composition. Though the whole piece is not completely random, the structure of what is on the canvas was determined in a random way. The artist described the process he used to create the process as follows. First, he drew a square grid of lines and labeled the intersections of these lines with unique numbers. Then, he wrote each intersection’s number on a card and drew pairs of cards at random. He then drew a line on the graph connecting the locations of the two drawn points.
I like this piece of art because of how it combines randomness with stylized choice. The line structure is random but the color and repetition of lines is chosen by the artist. As a result this piece is not entirely random but lies somewhere in between.
Mark Wilson is a digital artist, painter, and printmaker who began exploring random computational art in 1980. He started on a microcomputer, learning programming in order to create artwork. He essentially writes software that uses calculated repetition to construct intricate layers.
I admire the complexity of his work, and the effectiveness of the algorithm to generate elaborate pieces without becoming overly messy and disorderly. I am fascinated by the way he reproduces a similar style throughout his work, and the implications of this in the program.
Though left unspecified, Wilson leaves certain elements to be randomly chosen by the machine while carefully curating others. I would assume he makes decisions about scale and arrangement, which elements of patterning and colour dependent on random.
Wilson has paintings dating back to 1973 that inspired his digital style that continues to develop in the present year through computation.
This image is one artwork from onformative’s series called Montblac Generative Artpiece. Each artwork consists of a faint line drawing of the model of the Montblanc watch and the blobs are generated based on the material of the watch (gold, silver, etc), the casing, size, and end user, as well as many more factors. This creates a unique blob to each individual watch that was sold. onformative usually creates art through data, but usually that art is not as random as the artworks in this series. To see that they have a broad range of data visualizations makes them one of the top data visualization firms in the entire world.
John Cage was an American music composer that paved the way for randomness in music. Many of his musical compositions explored theories of chance through methods such as implementing deliberate randomness processes in their productions. He wanted to challenge the nature of what sounds we expect to hear by expanding his compositions to comprise of unforeseen/unintended elements of sound.
In the score of his “Fontana Mix,” we will find 10 pages of paper and 12 transparencies of graphic notation of music with text made up of various languages and individual letters, 12 different lines of different colors, and 16 black squares representing different vocal sounds of different singing styles. Cage uses wavy/curvy lines with varying texture and thickness to indicate the different sounds within the mix. I admire John Cage’s work because he created a chance system to render unfixed compositional techniques (like an algorithm for indeterminacy) to utilize chance into his musical compositions.
Meandering River is an art installation that is located at Funkhaus Berlin. Created by the design group Kling Klang Klong, the installation is to create a vibrant river landscape that is created through the random music or sound within the room. The combination of sound and real-time painting is to create the sensation of time and the journey that it creates. By taking in the sound and deriving a colorful river landscape, admirers of the artwork is to perceive transformation over time and not only admire the instant snapshot of the ever changing surrounding.
This project caught my eye because I am captivated on how the artists were able to combine different mediums of sound, painting, and digital computation to create a perception of change. Instead of showing the basic snapshots of change through time, the human experience of sound is the dictating factor of the change within the art itself. As designers, I believe that we should strive to merge different mediums to further enhance people’s perception of our work.
This piece is created by a team of programmers, Carola-Bibiane, Schönlieb, and Franz Schubert. By creating a set of random curves that are drawn sequentially, they emulated the etched prints of Arnulf Rainer shown below.
Essentially, the lines are generated by the random number generators, which eventually create ‘pseudo’ random numbers. The most admiring part about this work, despite the fact that the work is not original, was the number of rules that the creators had to set in order to perfectly copy the work of Arnulf Rainer. Although the image looks simple, the curves seemed to be encoded with intricate set of planned parameters. The fact that these fine lines are created by using randomness, but with a set of restrictions, was fascinating to me. To expand on this idea, the piece made me wonder if perfect randomness is even possible and, if it does, whether the final product will look the same as the usual ‘randomly generated’ numbers or shapes. The artistic sensibilities are best shown through the idea of copying an organically generated piece into a digital image, using the exact opposite method: the computer.