The Electric Sheep is a cyborg mind. It harnesses the collective intelligence of 450,000 computers and people creates abstract art with mathematics and Darwinian evolution. The result is seamless, organic, and infinite.
Golden Shield Music is a generative composition for eight audio channels. [...] The work is inspired by the Golden Shield Project, sometimes referred to as the 'Great Firewall of China'. [...] Golden Shield Music collects the twelve website’s IP that are most screened by the Golden Shield. Therefore IP numbers are listed in a text file which feeds an automated MIDI polyphonic synthesizer. The latter translates each IP in a single note formed by 4 voices with a specific velocity. Resulting notes are ordered by the amount of pages the Golden Shield obscured for each IP address: the website’s IP obtaining the highest page result on Google.com becomes the first note of the score and the others follow in decreasing order. Data organizes the musical notation, establishing an abstract relationship between Internet information and musical algorithms which sounds harmonious and "handcrafted".
I sympathize with the protagonist of a cartoon claiming to have transferred x amount of megabytes, physically exhausted after a day of downloading. The simple act of moving information from one place to another today constitutes a significant cultural act in and of itself. I think it's fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing.
- Kenneth Goldsmith, 2004
While Kenneth Goldsmith's wry statement about knowledge jockeying is directly discussing the plight of the contemporary author, his comments are useful for thinking about other disciplines. In editing this quote, the word "writing" could easily be replaced by any number of verbs (programming, composing, painting, storyboarding, etc.) as we undoubtedly inhabit an era where creative transposition rather than raw creativity can be enough to drive a project. The ctrl-c clipboard, the layer palette in photo editing software and the flash memory of a microcontroller are all examples of spaces that serve as staging grounds for storytelling and crafting aesthetic experiences — these are interstitial zones where art gestates. Goldsmith clearly doesn't approach the creative process with reverence, and his blasé attitude is an excellent springboard into reading contemporary artistic production in relation to knowledge work. An important question: How might we appropriate this daily activity of "shifting content between containers" as a site (rather than a means) of artistic production? This article will consider the aesthetics of the spreadsheet, and act as the first installment of a series that will engage projects that explore the documents, software, interior architecture and politics of the contemporary workplace.
Four Letter Words consists of four units, each capable of displaying all 26 letters of the alphabet with an arrangement of fluorescent lights.
The piece displays an algorithmically generated word sequence derived from a word association database developed by the University of South Florida between 1976 and 1998. The algorithms take into account word meaning, rhyme, letter sequencing, and association.
The algorithm's tendency towards scatological or "dark" subject matter is influenced by a variety of language and perception studies, especially Elliot McGinnies' 1949 study "Emotionality and Perceptual Defense."
While the piece was conceived with idea of displaying algorithmically generated lists, it was designed with flexibility and expandability in mind. The individual units can be connected ad-infinitum, and are theoretically capable of displaying any length of text. While Four Letter Words deals with a specific range of content, the technology can be easily expanded for future textual experiments.
Created by Casey Reas and Ben Fry, Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.
I first discovered Processing in 2003 at ITP while exploring different options for creating a set of tutorials about generative algorithms. We quickly realized that Processing could transform our approach to teaching programming and have adopted it as the language learned by all incoming students. I’m thrilled to have this chance to talk to Casey and Ben a little about the origins of Processing, their philosophy, work, and plans for the future. - Daniel Shiffman
Triptych: Motion Stillness Resistance is a generative, video-based triptych that explores three dynamics: motion, stillness and resistance. Each panel of Triptych focuses on one dynamic and uses these as visual metaphors for universal emotive and cognitive states taken from and reflecting my personal experiences. In Triptych three separate video streams run simultaneously in three panels. These videos are randomly chosen from a central database of stored footage associated with each individual panel. Self-structuring and generative, each time Triptych is viewed the outcome is unique. There is no audio component to this work.
As the niche genre of software art expands beyond the web and into mobile devices, media artists are finding ways to integrate their work into a new form of business model. Instead of giving away your work for free on the web, Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices provide an ample platform for distribution (through the Apple App Store) and hardware support for novel ways to experience screen-based work.
12_Series is a new generative multichannel computer installation by Telcosystems. The installation is an audiovisual horizon comprised of twelve identical image and sound generating machines. Built around the notion of decentralized autonomous decision making and evolution, 12_Series implements forms of audiovisual imitation, mutation and recombination, aiming for the emergence of captivating complexity from a vocabulary of rudimentary shapes, sounds and logic.
The system is built around the notion of decentralized autonomous decision making, with each machine displaying its own generative behavior, while reacting to behavior of neighboring machines and adapting to centrally organized environmental variables. The installation focuses on the tension between the individual and the group, between the machine-specific development and the group dynamics that determine the ever-evolving horizon.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator