Art from code - Generator.x
Generator.x is a conference and exhibition examining the current role of software and generative strategies in art and design. [Read more...]
Tag: drawing

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abstrakt Abstrakt: Jorinde Voigt

Jorinde Voigt: Territorium (4), VI/aus: Position 1-x; Nord-Süd-Achse; Zentren A-Z; Position-Zentrum/Identisch; Territorium 1-x; Zentrum 1-x; N,S,W,O; Drehrichtung der Himmelsrichtung im Verlauf; Konstruktion; Dekonstruktion; Countup-Countdown-Loop: 1-x Tage; Kontinentalgrenze
Rome, 2010
70×100cm, ink, pencil on paper, signed original

The drawings of Jorinde Voigt are means to project order onto her environment. She formalizes and orders aspects, objects and impressions to form complex graphs, applying both objective (scientific) methods and subjective decisions. The system designs thus bear a scientific character, but upon closer inspection they can neither be generalized nor be deciphered in terms of applicability. The drawings constitute ’subjective abstractions’ that can only be read as aesthetic products, as symbols for the time’s penchant for formalization, and as such elude any concrete application as patterns or logic.

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abstrakt Abstrakt: Louise Naunton Morgan

Louise Naunton Morgan: The Human Printer, 2008
Various sizes, felt tip on tracing paper

As “The Human Printer”, Louise Morgan offers her services of ‘printing’ images manually. In the same process as for offset printing, the motifs  are separated as CMYK halftones. These grids are then, dot by dot, meticulously transferred onto paper by hand. The motifs dissolve into a coarse technical structure with a washed-out quality that reminds of the approaches to representation invented by pointillists.

Morgan’s indifference toward the motifs that are ordered bespeaks a democratic image regime in her work, which is otherwise encountered only in the production lines of industrial photographic laboratories. At the same time, she makes a new case for technical image production in art, which has been discussed ever since Warhol’s Factory and Benjamin’s ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’.

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Drawings by Hektor (Laurenz Brunner / Juerg Lehni)

Laurenz Brunner / Jürg Lehni:Drawings by Hektor (pdf)

Hektor the Graffiti Output Device is up to new tricks. For the “It’s OK to make mistakes” exhibition at Riviera Gallery in Williamsburg, New York, Jürg Lehni teamed up with designer Laurenz Brunner. Together they created a series of wall pieces based on instructions for school children ("I need to keep my hands to myself", "Be on time / Come Prepared / Be a friend / Follow rules".)

In addition to the wall pieces, Lehni and Brunner came up with a new format for Hektor to play with: Poster-sized spray paint drawings. Working within the limitations of Hektor’s lo-fi output, they have created a charming series of drawings on paper. The motifs play with the primitive geometric forms and the material qualities of spray paint, including a few Hektor classics such as halftone rasters. In an interesting twist (seen above right), one drawing is simply a circle that is drawn endlessly until the an entire can of spray paint has been emptied onto the paper.

At $150 a piece, the Hektor drawings are a bargain. Full documentation of the series can be seen in a PDF on the Riviera web site. For more pictures of the exhibition, see their Flickr documentation. The exhibition closes today.

Previous post: Hektor: The videos.

Simon Elvins: Mapping sound

Simon Elvins: Silent London (detail) / Notation

Simon Elvins is concerned with sound as an ubiquitous force. Through a series of projects he has been documenting how sound is an often ignored dimension of our physical environment. Silent London plots quiet spaces in the English capitol using noise level data. An embossed print shows quiet areas raised up from the paper, bringing them to the attention of the viewer, while noise areas become blanked out valleys. noisy areas raised up from the paper while quiet areas become blank areas of peace. His FM Radio Map serves a dual purpose. On the one hand it plots the physical locations of commercial and pirate FM radio stations broadcasting in London. But circuits conductive pencil lines placed on the back of the map also turns it into a physical interface. Using a modified radio the map can be aurally “navigated” by placing metail contacts on points on the map.

These projects are poetic but ultimately functional. Taking a conceptual design approach (Elvins studied Communication Art & Design at the Royal College of Art), they present numerical data in an aesthetic context. By choosing low-tech materials (paper, electronics) Elvins creates fragile objects whose material qualities belie their sophisticated technical content.

Parallel to Elvin’s interest in sound is his fascination with mapping of physical and intangible forces. Both the aforementioned projects are classic mapping projects, while Notation is a more abstract exploration of how sound can be represented visually as marks on paper. Reminiscent of experiments with graphic notation (see Eno etc), the project consists of studies of representations of tonal patterns using pencil on paper.

The Notation project page seems to indicate that these drawings can ultimately be used to produce sound, but no details are available. If so, it would be an inversion of Elvin’s excellent Paper Record Player, where he constructed a functional record player out of paper, complete with its own conical paper amplifier.

(Thanks to TomC. See also Mount Fear.)

OFFF BCN: Drawing / Painting / Sketching

OFFF BCN: Hansol Huh – TypeDrawing / James Tindall: Sketchpad

The OFFF festival in Barcelona is next week, with a busy schedule mixing new media design heros with computational designers and generative artists. The EXTEND: Advanced Processing workshop has been mentioned here before, now the organizers have finally released the full list of projects for the exhibition.

Entitled “Drawing / Painting / Sketching”, this year’s exhibition has a focus on software works that emulate drawing processes. It might seem ironic that digital artists should spend so much time trying to recapture the quality of traditional drawing, but this is not necessarily out of nostalgia. The goal is ultimately the creation of organic expressions within a deterministic medium, with a richness of gesture often lacking in digital work. The last few years has seen a definitive move away from the technology-inspired images of the turn of the millenium, with complex animated works created through the use of computational processes coming to the fore.

The resulting works are nevertheless quite different both in style and focus – from C.E.B. Reas’ complex process drawings, to Hansol Huh’s playful TypeDrawing, to Leonardo Solaas drawing machine Dreamlines. Joshua Davis will be doing a workshop in the museum using his drawing components for Flash, while Zach Lieberman’s Drawn and Hektor, the Graffiti Output Device provide interactive installations moving beyond the screen.

It looks like OFFF will be an interesting mix this year, be sure to have a look at the timetable for a full overview of the events, including the conferences which in true Barcelona fashion run until 21:00 in the evening.

Zachary Lieberman: Drawn installation

Zachary Lieberman: Drawn (installation)

Zach Lieberman has released documentation of the installation version of his “Drawn” performance piece (previously blogged here.) “Drawn” uses computer vision techniques to allow a user to paint with ink on canvas, with the resulting drawings coming to life through computer intervention. Ink blots are “erased” from the page and are free to move around the canvas in reaction to user interaction.

Drawn is a perfect instance of “augmented reality” used to create a poetic space between the real and the virtual, with plenty of playfulness and generosity thrown in. The installation came about as a result of the obvious interest shown by audiences after each concert, wanting see the drawing table and possibly try it out for themselves. The installation provides an intuitive software interface, and the projected results become both a work screen for the user and a perfomative space for observers. A delightful side product of the installation is the buildup of completed sketches left behind by users and displayed on the walls in the gallery as a document both of the work’s intention and of its users.

Lieberman’s work is concerned with interactivity, frequently appying sophisticated technological solutions to the creation of playful and poetic spaces. Drawn is an attempt at creating pure magic, as opposed to a dry augmented reality application. Be sure to explore Lieberman’s Thesystemis site, and for a small bonus see his lovely 2006 New Year's greeting card.

The Drawn installation will be on display at the OFFF Festival in Barcelona in May, where Lieberman will be taking part in leading the EXTEND workshop.


Paul over at dataisnature has just written an interesting post about procedural drawing, in part following up on the post here about Matthew Lewis Sketch piece. He mentions some interesting artists working with traditional drawing in a procedural manner:

Be sure to read Paul's observations about this work.

Jürg Lehni: Hektor videos

Jürg Lehni: Hektor videos (”Robotergestützter Graffitikurs”, Berlin)

Jürg Lehni has finally posted videos of his Hektor robot in action. You can enjoy watching Hektor give a "Robotergestützter Graffitikurs" (robot-assisted graffiti course), recreating patterns by William Morris and drawing landscapes.

For more information about Hektor the Graffiti Output Device, see There is also a small tantalizing tidbit about Hektor’s sibling Rita, the Whiteboard Drawing Device, but still not a lot of details.

Matthew Lewis: Sketch

Matthew Lewis: Sketch Left: Complete image. Right: Detail. More sketches here.

Who says idle browsing of Flickr images can’t be productive? While using Doug Marttila's findr hack to browse tag structures on Flickr, this lovely Sketch popped up.

Some background research reveals another page with little more info. The piece is by Matthew Lewis, a “Graphics Research Specialist” at Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), Ohio State University (OSU). Sketch is from 1998, and the technical platform used was AL, developed at ACCAD by Stephen May. AL is a Scheme-based environment for procedural computer animation, and is still available for Linux platforms.

Lewis calls the piece a drawing machine. In his own words:

Inspired by [Harold] Cohen, I’d written some Scheme software to represent and generate shapes consisting of clusters of “marks”. The program generated postscript that was then printed.

The theme of automated drawing crops up again and again. Drawing machines practically constitute a sub-genre of generative art. Lewis’ machine is striking because of its whimsical, hand-drawn quality. It avoids a typical computer-drawn look, and manages instead to capture a more naive form of line drawing.

Matt has been good enough to make more Sketch images available as a set on Flickr. They demonstrate a consistent quality of line, somehow cartoon-like. Click the “All sizes” button to get up close and personal with a high-res version.

Lewis has also created a body of generative work done in Jitter, including some work with genetic algorithms. He also also teaches Jitter at ACCAD. In 2004 he and Hans Dehlinger (one of the original Algorists) presented a paper at the Generative Art Conference in Milan on generative line drawing using photographs. Have a look at his Generated set on Flickr for more images.

Name: Project

Amber Frid-Jimenez and Philip DeCamp: Shrub: Variations on tree structures

Shrub is a series of sketches of tree structures, by MIT Media Lab students Amber Frid-Jimenez and Philip DeCamp. It starts off looking as one would expect, then wanders off into the exotic. Some feel more like drawing than visualizations.

Both Frid-Jimenez and DeCamp were involved in another project called Document Icons, a software sketch designed to allow the user to search through the contents of millions of text documents using histograms. The technique looks like it could also work well for tag heavy sites. Infosthetics blogged it here.

(via and infosthetics).