Archives for the Month of August, 2006

Jacob Dahlgren- Human Sorting Algorithm

Colour reading and Contexture – Jacob Dahlgren

The syntax of Constructivism, minimalism and particularly Op art are all referred to in Jacob Dahlgren’s multiform constructions and installations. Despite their highly formal nature they are playful representations of the childs mind embarking on the building-block adventure – a methodical arrangement of objects conceived via a human sorting algorithm.

‘Colour reading and contexture’ sees a large space covered with piles of coloured wood blocks, tiles, pieces of chocolate, cuts of carpet, and plastic cubes among many other things. The objects co-exist in subtle colour-groupings to produce a virtual cityscape – the simple rotational offsets, while random also remind us of computation and a randomness within predefined limits.

’I, the world, things, life’ consists of an arrangement of dartboards that reference op art and its fascination with hypnotic visuals effects. Visitors to the work can interact by throwing darts at the piece.

A key motif running through Dahlgren’s work is the most austere of abstract markings – the stripe! He has apparently collected hundreds of t-shirts and other items of clothing, photographs of buildings with striped markings, indeed the t-shirts form the basis of one of his works.

Data Vapour 250806

flickr fruits 2
Voronoi Skeletons – Marc Fornes

A hard drive stream of computational consciousness:

Over at the Theverymany Marc Fornes continues his dialogue with complex forms as architectural models and even sketches for furniture using Rhinoscript – check out the self-similar VoroniSkeletons and the speculative insectiodal furniture propositions with accompanying technical annotations.

‘My 12 favourite demos’ sees Toxi list his 12 favourite demo scene creations while explaining the importance of the scene for him in learning the staple of programming skills that we now accept as the fundamentals for producing computational art and design. He say’s ‘the demoscene arose as informal and highly competitive platform for creative expressions using software long before the (relatively) recent (re?)current mainstream interest in “computational design/art” errupted.’

Along with graffiti and street art, the demo scene is a kind of evolving hermetic folk art, which retains its vitality, like so many things, through aspects of restriction and constraint (in this case filesize limitation and hardware).

Randform had been radiating goodness for 5 months or so now, the topics are varied and interesting revolving around ‘math, physics, art, and design’. Symmetries IV, nicely explores aspects of tessellation in art with the incredible work of the Alhambra, and in science with the quasi-periodic tillings of mathematician Roger Penrose. Other highlights include space-invader carpets, Swiss Bricks and Giant Steps.

Check out David Whitaker’s colour algorithms in petri dishes, using a ‘machine aesthetic’ he produces optical works which in his own words produce, ‘combinations of colour, which shift about predetermined directions and are always optically regenerating themselves’.

Adaptivelandscapes houses the work of Christian Marc Schmidt, a collection of Landscape Abstractions, Path Studies and information Art. A successful optically informed visualisation arrives in the form of ‘41° 59′ 10″ N/87° 54′ 51″ W 1975-2004’ where monthly temperatures form the basis of structure and colour. Elsewhere we find a computational homage to our friend Joseph Albers and his squares.

Finally algorithmic botanists will be happy to know that the classic The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants is available in entirety online to download. Dr. P. Prusinkiewicz’s book, originally published in 1990, was the founding work in the field of L-systems and other algorithmic modelling of plants. Natureisdata.

Flickr Fruits 2

Another selection of handpicked Flickrs from the favourites folder for your retinal nourishment:

Evalinda has collected a set of sketches with a particularly organic algorithmic feel about them. ‘Sketchpad 2005’ sees procedural operations in action to provide us with decorative polyforms and process patterns. Other sets worth a visit include ‘Otra liberta’ and ‘Libreta1′

Adjacent_spaces brings to us a set called ‘Pattern Algorithms’ – a group of pointillist landscapes taken in the lossy district of bitmap county.

As well as maintaining a beautiful set called ‘Chaos’ documenting ‘irregular processes in deterministic systems’ via an oscilloscopic machine, Rabinal keeps a set with pictures of antennas, associated schemas, and related arcane diagrams for your enquiring mind…

The ‘Electricporn’ pool will have you thirsting for a date with a nice bit of kit. Lots of sexy circuit boards, luscious angled shoots of mechanisms, old and new, to get you going.

Personal experimental graph and graffiti is documented at Devowski’s place, I’m particularly fond of his series of synthesizer drawings and graphics as seen here, here and here.

more to come…

A camera from nothing and other paper-craftiness


A camera from nothing? – Well nearly. allows you to download a plan for making a handsome looking (SLR style) pinhole camera entirely from paper – I would think that some degree of patience is a requisite here!

‘Very few good magazines were available during the 1970s in Czechoslovakia …so people would borrow and exchange them when given the opportunity. This also applied to magazines aimed at young people, which was probably one of the reasons why almost everyone from my generation, when we get on to the subject of pinhole cameras, has fond memories of the cut-out paper camera known as Dirkon*, published in 1979 in the magazine ABC mladých techniků a přírodovÄ›dců [An ABC of Young Technicians and Natural Scientists].’

The Dirkon was found via a link at Jaime Zollar’s wonderful Paperforest blog – a stream of links to paper creations often with plans and specific info on how to build such things as a DNA models, dodecahedron calendars and working paper clock, oh yeah!

Yuko Nishimura – Optical paper folding


The simple act of folding paper gives rise to sculptural forms that with particular lighting can produce architectural forms and geometric patterns of subtle contrast. I’m impressed with paper-folding’s extreme technological economy – requiring no specialist equipment other than a pair of functional hands. Yuko Nishimura produces complex optical paper works and space-structures with undulating folds and creases. These works remind us of both the op-art works of the 60’s as well as more recent forays into the geometric generative syntax.

Other great paper sculpting & folding work mentioned at NatureIsData before:

Erics’ Origamitessellations plus article here

Richard’s Paper & Form plus article here

Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand
Recorder & Space Simulator – Thomas Demand

Last week I visited the Thomas Demand exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The artist photographs models of interiors and public locations that he has painstakingly and methodically constructed using paper and cardboard to the finest of detail – indeed is only at very close view that these apparently ‘real’ photographs reveal their ‘simulation’. Many of the interiors have a clean but mundane appearance – I later found out that Demand often reconstructs models of images he has seen in the media, a further investigation into the way we obsess over media imagery and a way of creating tension between the fabricated and the real world.

One piece I found particularly mesmerising was actually the only film in the show. Recorder is a Super-8 loop of a reel-to-reel tape machine playing a snippet of a Beach Boys melody, which becomes highly recontextualised in its newly constructed mantra mode. You can view the loop at Thomasdemand.

Further links:
At the Victoria Miro
At the Moma


Joe Gilmore is a sound and installation artist based in Leeds, UK. It’s most probable you will know his work though RAND%() (with Nullpointer) which is to my mind, the first real-time generative radio station to stream the wires. Joe has also released musical compositions on specialist labels such as the excellent 12k/Line (minimal clickologists out there will immediately hear a bell, if not some kind of granular sound at the mention). But this is not all, experimenting with MAX/MSP jitter he has also some interesting looking video pieces in progress – Untitled, a collaboration with Paul Emery sees some slice-forms appearing to evolve in muted iridescent colours. Another collaboration from these two is Joseph Stone House – a generative film exploring the interrelationships of music and architecture. ‘The film was structured and edited in Max/MSP and Jitter using patterns in the architecture as a score’ – stills of the work can be viewed here. Paul is also a video artist who has recently found interest in the video synthesis toolkit VVVV, his current interest lies with ‘quaternion fractal geometry and super trigonometric wave formations’ – his VVVV experimentation can be found here. Great work form the North of England!

Polyforms & Conduits

Polyforms & Conduits
Partition Magic – Peter Halley

John Powers makes iterative constructions containing many thousands of tiny elements. These gigantic Polyforms (shapes you get by combining multiple copies of a given form) with their block-like interconnections contain as much empty space as object. They remind us of geometric puzzles, Krash, for example is like the uncontrolled moment when a few thousand pieces of a Tetris puzzle all come landing at once in 3D space.

Since around 1980 Peter Halley has been making geometric colour-field paintings which recall computer circuits and electrical conduits and cell networks, often done in bright colours to great effect. Be sure to check out Peter’s writings, which will no doubt help elucidate on his methods and working process behind these enigmatic works. In the ‘Employment of the Geometric’ published in 1986 he makes an interesting observation:

‘Now that we are enraptured by geometry, geometric art has disappeared. There is no need for any more Mardens or Rymans to convince us of the essential beauty of the geometric field embodied in the television set’s glowing image. Today we have instead “figurative art” to convince us that the old humanist body hasn’t disappeared (though it has). It is only now that geometric art has been discarded that it can begin to describe the deployment of the geometric.’

More recent conduits, grid patterns and geometric repetitions can be found at Brianelectro’s Flickr set of Atari 2600 glitches. Incidentally MAX/MSP/jitter-heads might be interested to know about jit.atari2600 an Atari2600 emulator specifically designed for virtual processor bending.