Archives for the Month of September, 2007

Flickr Fruits 10 – Pattern Friday

Flickr Fruits 10
Pattern – A.Gilmore

Who could resist the playful exuberance of Linds vintage wallpaper set? If William Morris would have spent a day with Albert Hoffman, this might have been the result. Decoration in natural colours with a pop-op-geo-floral-fun.

Geometric motifs of a similar ilk can been found in A.gilmore’s pattern set, they would make nice tiles. Elsewhere you’ll find some finely crafted illustrations inspired by anatomical studies done in coloured pencil and pen, many of the vignettes rely on symmetry, resulting in some interesting Rorschach portraits.

Pruned has collected a small but lovely group of maps depicting the geological make of the Moon, I was surprised how much these reminded me of some of Josh Davies generative illustrations, in terms of both shapes and colours.

Realm of the VVVVertex

Generative VVVV work by Elektromeier

The development of VVVV, a toolkit for real time video synthesis, was initiated by MESO to prototype and implement leading edge media installations – it worth checking the Meso site to view some of the projects produced with 4v. The software is designed to ‘facilitate the handling of large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously.‘ The main developers on the project are Max Wolf, Sebastian Gregor, Sebastian Oschatz, Tebjan Halm, Joreg, David Brüll and Björn schwarzer.

Dataisnature is a excited fan of 4v for many reasons, one of them is that VVVV lends itself well to the fast prototyping of complex organic structures, iterated multiform shapes and surfaces that have parameters that can be informed by sound analysis. The use of Spreads (analogous to Arrays) to duplicate objects and set spatial organisation of objects is one of its most powerful key features. It’s been a while since I made a post about the toolkit and judging by the increasing number of topics in the excellent VVVVorums and the number of concurrent online users, it seems the amount of people using the software seems to have increased quite a lot in the last year. As I continue to use this software, I present a selection of works, blogs & patches/modules, I’ve been collecting for a little while, from some of its devotees and developers:

The 4v blog is a great place to start if you want to get a taste of its power. Many of the projects listed here go beyond the screen with aspects of interaction, such as body tracking and motion sensing with, for example, this multi-touch table. Elsewhere you’ll find intriguing examples of physical computing- Interflow being a good example.

Kalle has made some amazing real world objects/installations in colloboration with MESO such as a giant light sculpture constructed with fluorescent light tubes – be sure to check out the Future of Mobility video. Scroll down past the projects on his user page to view an impressive list of modules including one that deals with speech recognition/synthesis.

Desaxismundi is publishing his experiments via a blog, you’ll find a variety of shader transforms, meshes and deformations with considered complexity – swirls, streams and as he puts it ‘calligraphic lazers’. It should be noted that Desaxismund has produced a set of Shaders for your enjoyment too – available for download.

Defetto utilizes Perlin noise deformations to produce silky overlapping 2d waveforms and spikey 3d crystal shapes. I enjoy the way the overlapping pallet creates dense areas of black in these sets.

Electromeier ‘visuals’ set contains many mutliform compositions which are both organic and complex. Both the Cellnot & ‘placement-DirectX Renderer’ sequences utilize gradient objects and backgrounds to great effect, the latter sequence presents an atomic action painting space hybrid. Electromeier, produces live visuals and has made some modules and patches for this purpose. Recently I tried out his Beatstreet module, a beat tapper/counter, which proves very useful for synching sound to visuals when not applying a direct sound analysis.

Tebjan Halm (aka Tonfilm) has collated a large selection of stills from his experiments which act as a small history of developmental exploration – the range & breadth of the output goes a long way to proving the power and versatility of 4v, as well as his patching skills.

Perlin Noise expirement – Defetto

VVVV is equally suited to information visualisation as it is generative animations as proven by Andreas Koller and Philipp Steinweber’s Similardiversity project. ‘Similar Diversity is an information graphic which opens up a new perspective at the topics religion and faith by visualizing the Holy Books of five world religions’

Another collaborative piece, this time utilizing midi data to allow for visual representation of music is Benedikt Groß and Patric Schmidt’s Seelenlose Automaten. Marius has already done a good job of posting on this generative audio visualisation, where midi data is used to inform animation parameters instead of the usual direct sound analysis method.

It’s also possible to output VVVV statics to hi-res for print, and Eno Henze has just done this with his Cortices piece, here a plot of Perlin noise values orchestrate iridescent moirés on close inspection, but on a larger scale it resembles a flowing gauze-like structure. And on the subject of hi-res output we turn to Ampop, who created the original Gridrenderer (now part of the standard VVVV download) node allowing for a grid of component images to be output allowing them to be stitched back together thus forming a hi-res final image. Incidentally there are a couple of PDFs from Ampop worth a browse, one is his thesis on hi-res export in VVVV, the other is a delightful ‘book’ called GeneratiVVVVe where Greek myth and World news is peppered with black and white geometric abstractions, generative typography, and patterns of recursion.

Zeroinfluencer has been using VVVV to prototype his Datama project which is a software for the ‘The Cinematic Realisation of Data’. As he describes it ‘will be a suite of aggregation utilities, sequencers and render systems that enable media content to be treated as objects, thus enabling further real-time content creation’ Early patches look very interesting, allowing for an aggregation of different kinds of data in to a visual mix.

Onoxo, a visualist residing in Zagreb has a slick collection of VVVV visual experiments definitely work exploring, again Marius has already written a post on his work so ill direct you over to Generator.x for another intermission.

Two excellent collections of VVVV work I’ve featured before are those of Sanch TV and Rand, both feature great examples of superformula de/reconstructions.

This list is by no mean exhaustive – it was good to transfer some VVVV links from a txt file and post here. Please inform me of any work that I might be interested to feature in future.

Event Horizon

Work by Biothing

Things to see:

Scriptedbypurpose is an exhibition of design/art works using ‘Explicit and encoded processes’ curated by Marc Fornes & Skylar Tibbits. The work contains examples of abstract generative art, parametric architecture, digital fabrication and computational models for furniture construction. An interesting note on the show: ‘in order to avoid a previous generation ruled by generic talks on “techniques”, all codes and custom tools must be displayed next to the work as open source’. Scriptedbypurpose is produced by the FUEL Collection – 249 Arch Street, Philadelphia, US – Opening on September the 7th 2007.

Up until the 20 November you can catch the Zaha Hadid Architecture & Design exhibition at the Design Museum, London. This exhibition is the first full scale show of Zaha Hadid’s work in the UK – quite surprising since she has been a native of the UK for quite sometime. ‘It will also be one of the largest projects undertaken by the Design Museum, spread over two floors of galleries, and will focus on this recent extraordinarily productive period in Hadid’s work.’ The exhibition runs from 29 June-25 November.

The IFF’s Hyperbolic Reef continues to evolve, accreting more and more contributors as it grows, and taking on a life of its own. From October 12 – December 16 it will be on exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Centre in conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Morphogenesis Part 1 – Goethe, D’Arcy Thompson & Turing


‘Art forms in Nature’ by Ernst Haeckel, with its spectacular (and sometimes speculative) illustrations and ‘On Growth and Form’ by D’Arcy Thompson have fuelled a surge of interest in morphology and morphogenesis in the generative realm recently. The latter book is a rich blend of philosophy, literature, and mathematical principles, well researched from an historical point of view, leading to a poetic treatise on morphology. There no question that D’Arcy Thompson studied the work of polymath Goethe, who also was a keen observer of nature and its underlying forms. Goethe’s theory of plant metamorphosis stipulated that all plant formation stems from a modification of the leaf:

‘Furthermore I must confess to you that I have nearly discovered the secret of plant generation and structure, and that it is the simplest thing imaginable…. Namely it had become apparent to me that in the plant organ which we ordinarily call the leaf a true Proteaus is concealed, who can hide and reveal himself in all sorts of configurations. From top to bottom a plant is all leaf, united so inseparably with the future bud that one cannot be imagined without the other.’

Goethe is possibly grappling with the idea of recursion in nature, and his ‘From top to bottom a plant is all leaf’ is too much of the ‘As above so below’ – a reference to fractal geometry aside from its well known alchemical insinuations. If Goethe lead to D’Arcy Thompson, then perhaps Alan Turin might come next in the lineage, having studied ‘On growth and Form’ and becoming interested in Morphology in the last few years of his life. Turing is most known for the Turing Test, its influence on AI, and his work in cryptanalysis during the World War II. But we can only imagine what he might have discovered in the area of morphology had he not committed suicide at a relatively young age. It’s no coincidence that the ‘father’ of the modern computer was interested natural pattern formation as this field as lot of cross over’s with computational systems and models. It’s fitting that someone such as Turing, who provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm in computation, would find this topic so appealing.

Jonathon Swinton has created a very readable set of pages regarding Turing and his work on morphogenesis, and particularly his penchant for Fibonacci phyllotaxis. Turing did publish one important paper but much of his work in this area has been forgotten, Jonathon’s interest in mathematical biology and Alan Turing in general has resulted him bringing together fragments of unpublished & forgotten work, collating his findings for the benefit of interested parties.

Much of the work done by Goethe, D’Arcy Thompson & Turing, among others, lead to the formulation of ‘nature’ equations which underpin many of the algorithms generative artist employ in their works today. Nature is data.

(to be continued & expanded…)

Flickr Fruits 9

Brilliant Pink Fruit Pavilion Tumbleweed (Dale Chihuly) – Sixfeetovers

A Tuesday morning sprinkling of fine colors and forms from Flickr:

Paritoshnarayan has two gorgeous sets for your visual cortex to delight in. ‘Abstracts’ contains iridescent micro currents of oil streams and other suspended liquids merging and bubbling fantastic colors. The ‘Splash’ set contains some high speed photographs of colored liquids in motion – metallic drops forming miniature glass sculptures.

As if a generative art piece had escaped from a hard drive and found its way frozen in time as a glass piece itself, we find Sixfeetovers’s pictures of Dale Chihuly’s glass art such as this one. The set is a document of ‘Chihuly at Fairchild’, amazing works, taken at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida.

Continuing on a floral theme is Criss Garica Ink/Pencil illustration set where multitudes of lines construct plant forms and unfurling pine leaves.

Smallfly has a set of pictures documenting his collaborative Multitouch project faceCloth where live video is mapped onto a digital cloth, which reacts to its environment in a realistic fashion – undulating and distorting to provide new compositions of the original video.

The ever industrious Dave Bollinger has a new Processing sketch in progress provisionally called ‘Tangle’. There is quite a range of iterations with this set, from polygon/wireframe extrusions through to the op-art styling’s of Zebra feedback subset.