Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/44/d82821987/htdocs/valley/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/_inc/lib/class.media-summary.php on line 77

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/44/d82821987/htdocs/valley/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/_inc/lib/class.media-summary.php on line 87
Archive generative art | the valley of lost things

generative art

“like cities built on hills…”

Brian Eno has again proved his status as a Renaissance Man. He and Karl Hyde have  created, with a little help from Holo Decks,  a free interactive Augmented Reality App for iOS, to accompany their new album Someday World. If you point your camera phone at the vinyl version of the album or at the online version you see abstract graphics described as outsider architecture that you interact with by double tapping the screen. It seems more specific than his generative app Bloom. If you point the camera elsewhere, you merely see the camera view with no graphics.


Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 art, generative art No Comments

pacman pianos

After I recently wrote  about Monomania’s solitary obsessions, Prosthetic Knowledge has posted with what seems like perfect synchronicity about Six Pacmen by Tacit Group in South Korea. The audio visual performance of a multiplayer version of Pacman, combined with ‘Six Pianos’ by Steve Reich  smacks of the relentless obsession involved in Monomania. OK, neither the Pacman element nor the piano playing is solitary, but the obsessively intense and repetitive nature of each, combining to form visual and audio patterns  seems appropriate for Monomania and is an example of the generative art that has been fascinating me recently, as well as an example of someone else mining of the 1970s as a source of rich material because ‘Six Pianos’ was released in 1973.) ‘Structural‘, Tacit’s work based on Tetris, is slow but equally fascinating, with a soundtrack closer to 1970s Kraftwerk than to modernist classical music.


Friday, March 7th, 2014 games, generative art No Comments

‘i’ve been a miner for a heart of gold’ – neil young

After yesterday’s post about my version of the 1975 work ‘Shutter Interface’ by Paul Sharits, I’ve been inspired to resume work on another generative piece I started last year, and thinking about it last night kept me awake for several hours. Eventually I had to get up to make some notes before I forgot my solution to the problem I was struggling with.  i remember this pattern of disturbed sleep from the days of my coding sessions with Ollie Glass, which, in turn, reminded me of my genetic algorithm coding. Food for future projects perhaps.  To keep me awake today I’m listening to ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ and ‘Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy’ by Brian Eno, no doubt the consequence of reading ‘Brian Eno: Visual Music’ by Christopher Scoates. Ah the 1970s, derided by many for their excesses, but I see them as a rich mine of inspiration.

I can’t remember when I first visited the turf maze at Saffron Walden, but it may well have been the 1980s. Anyway, no matter which decade it was,  it’s still part of the relatively distant past to be mined,  because it was on that first visit that I ‘saw’ the image of the pattern that would be created by people traversing the different sections of  concentric loops when seen from above. And that’s the starting point for my latest project: blobs revealing a pattern by following an otherwise invisible path. It’s been lurking at the back of my head ever since. Which means devising a path-following algorithm, and that’s where I stumbled when I worked on it before. I’m convinced the solution is within my grasp. Last night I struggled with the code to control the ‘release’ of blobs at random intervals but I have an idea how to do it now.  So simple once inspiration strikes! A mere matter of interpreting my late-night scribbles and testing them. I’ve also thought of ways to test a path-following algorithm. So much to do, but fun. Now, on with the digging!


Thursday, February 6th, 2014 coding, generative art 1 Comment


Yay! It’s complete!

I’ve finished writing my first piece of generative art for a long time.  I wrote about my plans recently.

Not surprisingly, I used Processing, and took an OOP approach (Object Oriented Programming), to represent four loops of film, each projecting a square of colour, slightly overlapping with the next one,on a blank wall, and with each loop containing only plain coloured frames, but with one frame in each loop a pure black to create a flickering effect.

I call it Flicker, and it’s based on the 1975 work ‘Shutter Interface‘ by Paul Sharits, as described in ‘Brian Eno: Visual Music’ by Christopher Scoates:

The films are all out of phase/sync and therefore a multitude of variational states of interactions between them is set in (potentially perpetual) motion. For Sharits, the fades and dissolves were “‘active’ punctuation for the ‘sentences’ being visually enunciated” and in their variable syntax recall a Chomskyan notion of grammar.”

I’d like to post the sketch so you can see it running, but it doesn’t work in Javascript mode, so here’s a still from my sketch, though, being a still image, it entirely misses the point of the flickering. You’ll just have to image a brief interruption of each square at random intervals:



Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 generative art No Comments

transforming a room into a responsive, fluid architecture fed by ambient noise

How cool would it be if a room could physically change in response to events? I remember Bill Gates writing in his book ‘The Road Ahead’  about the house he built where sensors adjusted lights and displays in rooms according to who entered them and their previously stored preferences, but I’m not referring to that. That was published way back in 1995, in the days of Windows 95, before Windows ME, XP and the execrable Vista or the currently bad Windows 8. It was the year when the Internet really entered public consciousness. So a lot has happened in the nineteen years since then. Even so, the very thought of a “responsive fluid architecture fed by ambient noise”  is probably enough to turn Bill weak at the knees. Seeing it for oneself would have involved travelling to the Mapping Festival in Geneva earlier this year.  The festival looks really exciting, though. As usual, I’ll keep watching Create Digital Motion to see what’s unfolding.

Sunday, January 5th, 2014 event, generative art No Comments

television as controllable light source

Last night I read more of ‘Brian Eno: Visual Music’ by Christopher Scoates and came across Eno’s use of televisions as light boxes and looping recordings of music with Daniel Lanois. There was also a description, photograph and diagram of ‘Shutter Interface’ , the 1975 work by Paul Sharits, which involved four projectors each showing a loop of single- colour frames that overlapped on the wall, creating a mix of hues. Each loop had one black frame to introduce a flicker that interrupted at different moments in the four cycles.

The films are all out of phase/sync and therefore a multitude of variational states of interactions between them is set in (potentially perpetual) motion. For Sharits, the fades and dissolves were “‘active’ punctuation for the ‘sentences’ being visually enunciated” and in their variable syntax recall a Chomskyan notion of grammar.”

The reference to Chomsky may seem high-falutin’ but it refers back to an earlier passage which discussed the linguist’s theory of

“…linguistic competence in which he argued that language has an infinite set of sentence combinations, which became known as ‘generative grammar.'”

It occurred to me that creating an equivalent work in Processing would be very simple, so I immediately started writing one, though my initial thought of using an OOP approach may have been slightly over the top, but that depends on how far I might want to take this. In these days of Processing, Arduino, LEDs and ubiquitous computers, it seems odd to think of Eno regarding television to be “.. the most controllable light source that had ever been invented…”, but the availability of simple alternatives doesn’t diminish his work.

Furthermore, this nocturnal burst of programming spurred me on to resume work on my abandoned path-following Saffron Mandala sketch and my as-yet unstarted slitscan sketch. From past experience I’m wary of promising imminent future posts on these sketches, because there are other things to deal with such as work, family, food and house but I also need to catch up on sleep too. But these are now my projects to focus on.

Tags: , ,

Saturday, January 4th, 2014 coding, generative art No Comments

resuming normal service

A lot has happened in the long interval since my previous post, and I’m referring not just to my stroke- induced temporary paralysis or my permanent partial blindness, but to the continuing rise of Facebook that dented my once-confident conviction that blogging is a valuable and relevant platform.

Recently I attended a couple of drawing and painting workshops at The Art Barn in Gamlingay, the first on portraits and the second on flowers.  This follows my unsuccessful partaking in a Watercolours for Beginners class in my local village college.  It occurred to me that I wanted to share my thoughts and experiments in a longer and more permanent way than Facebook or Twitter. I’ve also recently ventured into the world of generative art, resuming my use of Processing, to create a mandala based on the turf maze at Saffron Walden. I suspect that this will be the subject of future posts so I won’t pre-empt those, only to say that it involves developing a path-following algorithm, which is a new one for me.

Tags: ,

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 drawing, generative art No Comments

abandoned artworks

That nice zenbullets (see link in sidebar) sent me a postcard today, featuring fifty of his abandoned artworks (see other link in sidebar). It was a lovely surprise waiting for me on the doorstep when I got home from work. Cheers, Matt.


Friday, May 22nd, 2009 generative art No Comments

the meaty bits

OK, I’ve finished watching the Paul Prudence video clips. Cut to the chase: if you want to see his visual recursive programme in action, watch parts 8 and 11. In terms of abstract experimental animation, it’s vaguely reminiscent of Oskar Fischinger’s work, but it concentrates on repetition and multiplication rather than colour and fast change. So – not really like it at all, then.

For me, the highlight of Paul’s presentation was this definition:

recursion n. If you still don’t get it, see recursion.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 digital art, generative art No Comments

expanded computing

Continuing yesterday’s theme about digital art comes a timely post from (the teeming void) about…well, it’s ultimately about the links between analogue and digital, and expanding computers through tinkering with the hardware and tapping into analogue sources – the flux of the material field. (Such a beautiful phrase.) I particularly like The Idea of a Tree, which seems to be an embodiment of its surroundings, taking Andy Goldsworthy’s approach to outdoor sculpture to the next stage. In a very small way, it ties in neatly with my first faltering steps with Arduino – last night I hooked up my new Duemilanova board to my iMac for the very first time.

(the teeming void) is subtitled ‘generative and data aesthetics’. It’s written by Mitchell Whitelaw, who wrote Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life, a fascinating book that was one of the initial prompts, when I started to learn Processing last year, to push my limited skills with the language so I could use it to create something generative. I haven’t reached that point yet, but I’m getting there, and Arduino is one more step on the way.

That world out there is smaller, but more densely packed, than I realised.

Monday, May 4th, 2009 digital art, generative art No Comments