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...]
 
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Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms (slideshow of “gx30″ tag on Flickr)

Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms
Feb 18-26, 2012 at iMal, Brussels
http://www.imal.org/en/activity/generatorx3

The Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms workshop at iMAL, Brussels culminated last Friday in an exhibition of works created during the week. As expected there is a wide range of works and expressions, from Makerbot’ted data sculptures (Frederik Vanhoutte, Andrej Boleslavsky, Katerina Konstantopoulos + Erato Choli) to distorted 3D scanned objects (Matthew Plummer-Fernandez) and parametric paper folding (Julien Deswaef).

For a complete overview of the workshop and its results, take a look at the Flickr tag “GX30″ which currently covers over 1000 uploads. Another important resource is iMAL’s wiki site Wikimal, which includes source code and tutorials published in connection with the workshop. Some participants have also published their own source code, such as Corneel Cannaert’s release of his Processing code to directly output G-code for Makerbot control.

In conclusion: Like Generator.x 2.0 before it, Generator.x 3.0 proved that the combination of generative strategies with digital fabrication continues to be a fruitful field for creative inquiry. We have only begun to scratch the surface of what is made possible by applying parametric modeling and data-driven processes to the imagining of objects and spatial structures.

Again, we’d like to thank iMAL for the invitation to collaborate on this project, which would not have been possible without the infrastructure and know-how that iMAL provided. But most importantly we’d like to thank all the workshop participants for getting in a room together and sharing of their experience. One of the real privileges of the Generator.x workshops on digital fabrication has been to bring artists, architects and designers together to see what can be learnt by juxtaposing their various fields of knowledge.

The people of Generator.x 3.0:

iMAL: Yves Bernard, Yannick Antoine, Marie-Laure Delaby and Greg Alveolis.

Workshop participants: Stéphane Perraud, Corneel Cannaerts BE, Hans Verhaegen, Jan Vantomme, Bert Balcaen + Ingrid Stojnic, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Frederik Vanhoutte, Julien Deswaef, Katerina Konstantopoulos + Erato Choli, Frederik De Bleser + Lieven Menschaert, Jihyun Kim, Korea, Andrej Boleslavsky and Andreas Kahler.

Workshop coordinator: Marius Watz.

 
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: SOFTlab

SOFTlab: (n)arcissus, 2010
Site-specific installation, laser cut mylar & acrylic

“(n)arcissus” is a site-specific spatial intervention in the stairwell of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, an artificial skin that drops down through the vertical space using gravity as a principle. By designing the form as a parametric model SOFTlab are able to manipulate the formal qualities of the final output while simultaneously optimizing it for physical construction. Their script breaks the surface down into individual surfaces for laser cutting, producing the unique modules needed to produce the larger structure.

Digital tools are not new to the field of architecture, but the last few years have seen an explosion in the use of generative systems combined with digital manufacturing processes. This new style of computational architecture explores the creation of complex forms based on parametric processes, giving rise to a new range of architectural expression while eliminating the economy of mass-produced form. Positioned at the heart of this movement, SOFTlab is an emerging architectural practice whose work combines scripted processes with knowledge of materials and principles of construction.

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abstraktAbstrakt: John Powers - God's Comic

John Powers: God's Comic, 2010
5 x 3 x 5 meters, Sculpture constructed from polystyrene blocks (site-specific unique installation)

The impenetrable geometries of John Powers’ abstract sculptures call to mind a wide range of influences, borrowing equally from art movements like postminimalism and pop culture icons like Star Wars. Meticulously constructed by hand, Power’s forms are constructed out of a limited formal vocabulary: Polystyrene blocks cut to a selection of preset sizes, attached to each other at 90 degree angles. The resulting structure gives the appearance of being a computer-aided design but is in reality the outcome of a human-executed algorithm, dictated by the artist’s intuition expressed through the repetitive action of connecting blocks.

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abstrakt Abstrakt: Brandon Morse

Brandon Morse: Achilles, 2009
Multi-screen video

In “Achilles” we are presented with a collection of rigidly modeled three-dimensional grids, recalling the skeletons of tall buildings. Suspended in space and rendered in monochrome, they at first appear stable and solid. This illusion is broken as the forms begin to deform and collapse, their networks of vertices and lines collapsing as a result of simulated gravity.

Brandon Morse exploits the digital simulation of rigid body physics to construct static tableaux, only to be destroyed by inevitable collapse towards entropy. He makes no attempt at photorealistic trickery, simply allowing the event to unfold without adding any expressive affect. His compositions recall the formal language of minimalist sculpture, updated to include simulations of kinetic behavior.

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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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abstrakt Abstrakt: Thilo Kraft - Und

Thilo Kraft – Und, 2005
Dimensions variable, digital image and sound data

The image and sound manipulation “und” consists of a recording of the spoken word ‘und’ (German: and), which has been edited and arranged to form a rhythmical piece. We see the portrait of a man whose features become distorted in all kinds of impossible ways.

The minimal movements of the mask seem to be controlled by an invisible power, producing by turns the appearance of an android and a human marionette. By controlling the face – the visible surface of human emotion – with technical means, Kraft repositions man in the neighbourhood of automated creatures.

This text is taken from the NODE10 catalogue, written by Eno Henze and Marius Watz and edited by Valérie-Françoise Vogt. Please read the introductory curator text for an overview of the exhibition topic.

 
abstrakt Abstrakt: Robert Hodgin - Sketches 2005-2010

Robert Hodgin: Sketches 2005-2010
Digital video

Computer code is perhaps the most immaterial of materials, consisting of text sequences dotted with obscure typographic symbols that read almost as concrete poetry. Writing code requires the description of the desired outcome as a result of the atomic steps required to achieve it – an algorithm.

Robert Hodgin is an alchemist of such algorithms, manipulating computational processes as the very material from which his work is created. In “Sketches 2005-2010” we trace the evolution of his work, often disregarding final versions in favor of work-in-progress sketches revealing the material explorations Hodgin goes through in order to produce the final work.

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Andy Huntington: Cylinder

Andy Huntington/ Drew Allan: Cylinder (”Seahorses”, “Designed”, “Market”)

Cylinder by Andy Huntington and Drew Allan is an elegant series of data sculpture based on sound analysis. A mapping of the frequency and time domains produces cylindrical forms representing the spatial characteristics of the sound input. Physical versions of the digital 3D models are then 3D printed using stereolithography.

The idea of mapping sound to space is not unfamiliar. The Cylinder project shows similar strategies to those used in the exhibition Frozen, which showed sound represented as a continous space rather than as a one-dimensional signal. However, Cylinder is from 2003, predating Frozen and making it somewhat of an early example of the data sculpture genre.

There is a tangential similarity between Huntington’s pristine objects and Booshan & Widrig’s Binaural object. But in fact the spiky geometries of both works are a result of the numeric data underlying the form. Any data set will yield inherent patterns, and in the case of digital sound two “defaults” present themselves: The waveform (a 1D graph) and the spectral map found through FFT analysis, which represents a 2D map of spectral energies in the time domain. Any translation of these numeric representations into visual form must grapple with the fact that while they may be faithful representations of the data, they rarely give a good idea of how the sound is experienced by a human listener.

The Cylinder series show a range of different waveforms, some showing an apparent orderly structure with others suggesting a noisier sound input. Titles like “Seahorse”, “Design” and “Breath” imply the source sounds used to produce the forms. Their success as aesthetic objects derive from their complexity as well as from the clean quality given by the 3D printing process.

 
5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen - Sound sculptures

Fischer & Maus: Reflection, Widrig & Booshan: Binaural

5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen
Wed 2 through Sat 26 July 2008
Melkweg Mediaroom & Paradiso, Amsterdam

Frozen (part of the 5 Days Off MEDIA festival) is an exhibition of experiments in the representation of sound in media beyond the auditory. It examines the sound signal as a virtual space, presenting possible mappings that visualize or interpret the structures contained within the soundwaves.

Frozen was proposed and commissioned by Jan Hiddink and the 5 Days Off MEDIA festival in Amsterdam, and consists exclusively of original work. It was conceived with Generator.x 2.0 as a conceptual reference (all four artists in the show were also involved in Generator.x 2.0), but with a clearly defined focus: The representation of sound as spatial structures, realized as physical objects through the use of digital fabrication technologies.

For more information, see the documentation in the Frozen Flickr set, Leander Herzog’s FFT set or the blog posts by Benjamin Maus and Andreas Nicolas Fischer.

Frozen: Sound as space
5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen - Sound sculptures - Herzog, Watz

Leander Herzog: Untitled / Marius Watz: Sound memory (Oslo Rain Manifesto)

Over the past years, there has been an enormous development in the field of live-presented audio-visual performance art. Owing to digital techniques, image and sound are connected in a way that was previously unthinkable. Frozen is headed in the opposite direction. Frozen pulls the plug and presents audio art, prints, and sculptures as independent, but interconnected works of art.

In the Mediaroom at the Melkweg multi-channel sound pieces can be experienced over an advanced speaker setup, accompanied by sound in a "frozen" form: Images and sculptural objects made using sound as input. These artworks use audio analysis and custom software processes to extract meaningful data from the sound signal, creating a mapping between audio and other media. Frozen will feature digital prints as well as four "sound sculptures" created using digital fabrication technology such as rapid prototyping, CNC and laser cutting, which allow for the direct translation of a digital model into physical form.

Frozen arose in collaboration with the Norwegian artist and curator Marius Watz, whose Generator.x project investigates the implications of generative systems and computational models of creation. The recent exhibition Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen brought together artists and architects to explore the potential of this new mode of creation.

‘Audio sculptures’ will be on display by Andreas Nicolas Fischer (DE) & Benjamin Maus (DE), Leander Herzog (CH), Marius Watz (NO) and Daniel Widrig & Shajay Booshan (UK). These sculptures are based on audioworks by Freiband (Nl, Frans de Waard), and Alexander Rishaug (No).

Frozen is presented in the Melkweg Mediaroom and at Paradiso.

5 Days Off MEDIA is part of the 5 Days Off festival for electronic music from Wed 2 through July 6. 5 Days Off MEDIA presents three themes: Crosswire, Frozen and Roots. Locations: Melkweg, Paradiso, Dutch Institute for Media Art and Heineken Music Hall.