Panel speakers Zach Gage, Robert Hodgin, Casey Reas, and Daniel Shiffman discuss their exploration of aesthetic form in this video. They explain what they do and how, ending in a few questions from the audience. Definitely worth the watch if you’re a lover of interactive design or generative art.
Zach Gage is a designer, programmer, educator, and conceptual artist from New York City.
His work explores the increasingly blurring line between the physical and the digital. He has exhibited internationally at venues like the Venice Biennale, the Giant Robot/Scion Space in Los Angeles, and the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. His work has been featured in several online and printed publications, including Rhizome.org, Neural Magazine, New York Magazine, and Das Spiel und seine Grenzen (Springer Press).
Lose/Lose is a video-game with real-life consequences. Each alien in the game is created based on a random file on the player’s computer. If the player kills the alien, the file it is based on is deleted. If the players ship is destroyed, the application itself is deleted.
Although touching aliens will cause the player to lose the game, and killing aliens awards points, the aliens will never actually fire at the player. This calls into question the player’s mission, which is never explicitly stated, only hinted at through classic game mechanics. Is the player supposed to be an aggressor? Or merely an observer, traversing through a dangerous land?
Virtual data isn’t like traditional media. In fact, virtual data is far closer in shape to an idea than it is to any tangible object. It can be copied infinitely, either perfectly (digitally), or modified through repetition (re-blogging or plagiarizing via the internet). In one important way however, virtual data is far more powerful than ideas: it doesn’t require a human to remember it since this task can be offloaded onto a machine. Because data can be recorded and distributed by computers without human intervention, we have difficulty understanding exactly what qualities virtual data does or does not have. Previously simple concepts like where our data actually is, how we can use it, or how long it will exist, are surprisingly hard to keep track of. Are the qualities that we have associated with data the most appropriate? Can we change the way data behaves to make it more meaningful?
This project revisits the code originally created for the Written Images project. There were some aspects of the code which always frustrated me that I didn’t know how to address at the time. In reworking this code, I finally figured out how to deal with large numbers of point lights in GLSL shaders as well as getting a better handle on dealing with the magnetic field itself. Previous versions used a rotation matrix to try and whip and spin the magnetic field into interesting forms. This was not an ideal solution. So I gutted the magnetism code and restructured it so that I wouldn’t need to rely on tricks. The results are quite promising.
Written Images, CME
Written Images is the brainchild of Martin Fuchs. For his diploma thesis, he put out a call for entries for people to create generative artwork. The stipulations were as follows: Each program should save four images to disk, each image taking less than 15 seconds to render, and then the program should self terminate. All of the printed pieces would then be assembled into a book.
Casey Reas’ ongoing Process series explores the relationship between naturally evolved systems and those that are synthetic. The imagery evokes transformation, and visualizes systems in motion and at rest. Equally embracing the qualitative human perception and the quantitative rules that define digital culture, organic form emerges from precise mechanical structures. Reas’ software, prints, and installations have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Signals is a commissioned mural for building 76 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was created in collaboration with Ben Fry.
Cell behavior is controlled by interconnected proteins operating in a network to actively transmit instructions. These networks become dysfunctional in cancerous cells. In this image, each graphical cluster represents signals between networked proteins in a cancer cell as they change over time. Individual arcs are signals from one protein to another; the size of an arc corresponds to the magnitude of the signal. Signaling data provided by the laboratory of Professor Michael Yaffe.
Casey Reas and Tal Rosner collaborated to create Chronograph, a site-specific software mural for the Frank Gehry-designed home of the New World Symphony in Miami.
Daniel Shiffman works as an Assistant Arts Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Originally from Baltimore, Daniel received a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University and a Master’s Degree from theInteractive Telecommunications Program. He works on developing tutorials, examples, and libraries for Processing, the open source programming language and environment created by Casey Reas and Ben Fry. He is the author of Learning Processing: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction and The Nature of Code (self-published via Kickstarter), an upcoming text and series of code examples about simulating natural phenomenon in Processing. For more information, visit www.shiffman.net.