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.

 

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

Generatorx-3.0-Form-Studies-Makerbot

Marius Watz: Form Studies (Makerbot)

Announcing Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms, a workshop and exhibition focusing on digital fabrication and generative systems. This event is an evolution of Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen, which took place in Berlin during Club Transmediale 2008. Generator.x 3.0 is produced by iMAL in collaboration with Marius Watz.

Context: Digital fabrication drastically changes manufacturing by democratizing access to industrial tools as well as changing the way objects are produced, opening the door for the on-demand creation of bespoke objects. Combined with the “craft” of code it becomes possible to directly connect parametric software processes to an instant manufacturing workflow, turning bits into atoms and introducing a paradigm that is radically different from traditional 3D modeling.

Generative systems shift the focus from static models towards a computational logic – what Bruce Sterling calls processuality. Here objects are understood as mere instances of a family of forms, produced by a specific interaction of parameters. Such forms may be data-driven or created through interactive means, adapting to conditions coded into the system. The artist becomes a “gardener” of possible forms, harvesting desirable results in an iterative process of coding and prototyping.

Workshop format: Participants will be chosen from a call for projects, with a focus on experience combining coding practices with digital fabrication. We will have large and powerful laser cutter machine on site, as well as several low-cost 3D Printers (Makerbots). The main software tool will be Processing (http://www.processing.org), but we also welcome users of other coding tools like VVVV, PD or OpenFrameworks.

The workshop will be hands-on and geared towards producing projects ready for exhibition at the end of the project. Participants will be expected to be familiar with code and generative strategies. There will be short tutorials demonstrating certain techniques, but the main focus is on the participants’ own independent work.

Call for projects: Submit projects or concepts for consideration through the online form on the iMAL web site.

Support: Generator.x 3.0 is produced by iMAL, and is made possible by the support of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, and our sponsors Hackable-devices (Paris and Ghent) and i.materialise.

 

Jumping on bandwagons is best done sooner rather than later, so we are hereby happy to announce that Generator.x now has its very own Twitter feed.

Microblogs like Twitter allow for a very immediate communication that requires less of a commitment than a regular blog. A 500 word blog post might take a few hours to write, whereas a 140 character long Twitter update only takes a few minutes. The interaction between Twitter users is also more explicit than is typical for blogs, creating a distributed conversation that at best can be thought of as a hive mind.

Here is the feed from twitter.com/generatorx so far:

  • Visualization: 2008 Presidential Candidate Donations: McCain vs. Obama http://is.gd/3iPS
  • Erik Natzke goes to NextFest: http://is.gd/3mCb
  • Martin Wattenberg talks to WIRED about big text data: http://is.gd/3mzI
  • Knowledge Cartography – cartography as tool for communication and the production of meaning: http://is.gd/3lma Video: http://is.gd/3lmj
  • Media Facades 2008 in Berlin looks interesting: http://is.gd/3kQQ
  • Blinkenlights: Oldie but Goodie. http://is.gd/3irX Now with a library for Processing for creating Blinkenlights movies.
  • Maxalot presents the projection series “Processing Light” tonight at Todaysart, The Hague: http://is.gd/3a9t.
  • @anfischer has posted nice documentation of recent work on Flickr: http://is.gd/3a2a
  • Podcast from Die Gestalten about Data Flow, their new book about visualization: http://is.gd/37Lm
  • Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective http://is.gd/35jU, MASS MoCA
  • Vizualizar’08: Database City – Call for papers http://is.gd/33bV. The seminar will be at Medialab Prado, curated by Jose Luis De Vicente.
  • The Piksel festival in Bergen has posted calls for their “abstract code real code” theme: http://is.gd/2Ytd
  • Mitchell Whitelaw has an interesting new series: Limits to Growth http://is.gd/2WIR. See also his Flickr: http://is.gd/2WIU
  • @toxi retweet : new blog post: Generative design in 4096 bytes or less (Will Wright & the 4k demoscene) http://is.gd/2UFj
  • WMMNA has a nice summary of C.STEM 2008: Breeding Objects http://is.gd/2VJV.
  • CORE.FORMULA has a nice blog post about Austrian sculptor Erwin Hauger: http://is.gd/2TIF. See also Flickr:http://is.gd/2TIO
  • C.STEM 2008 – BREEDING OBJECTS currently underway in Turin, feat. fabbing and generative art. http://is.gd/2OTX
  • Esther Stocker makes wonderful installations of grid structures in 2D and 3D: http://is.gd/2OTM
  • New issue of Vague Terrain about curating net-based art, guest edited by CONT3XT.NET. http://is.gd/2DdM
  • Blog post from @arikan: From Network Diagram to Structured Text http://tinyurl.com/5kb8g5
  • C.STEM 2008 in Turin has a nice lineup of fabbing works : http://is.gd/2mEl (In Italian)
  • Jeff Clark is doing some nice visualization work with a focus on social media: http://www.neoformix.com/
  • Just created a Generator.x Twitter feed to compensate for long breaks between blog posts…
 
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.

 
Generator.x 2.0: Disassembled / Theverymany: Aperiodic Vertebrae

Generator.x 2.0: Disassembled / Theverymany: Aperiodic_Vertebrae

Saturday was the last day of the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition at [DAM]Berlin. The occasion was marked with an informal curator talk, followed by Q+A. The 1-month show has had a great reception, proving popular both with the Transmediale crowd and the general art viewing public. While it’s always nice to reach with a community of one’s peers, reaching “regular people” is extra satisfying.

A slightly less enjoyable task was the disassembly of the exhibition in preparation for shipping. It is always bittersweet moment to see an exhibition disassembled and stuck in the back of an old Toyota Corrolla. See the following image to get an impression of this anti-climactic view.

Thankfully, any sadness was alleviated by knowing that 24 hours after being packed into this car, the works arrived safely in Turin, Italy to be part of the SHARE Festival. Bruce Sterling is the guest curator of this year’s festival, the theme of which is “Manufacturing”. After Bruce attended to the opening of Generator.x 2.0 we started discussing the possibility of taking the show to SHARE, a plan that will come to fruition tomorrow when the exhibition re-opens in Turin.

Fabbing workshop at HyperWerk

Works from fabbing workshop at HyperWerk, Basel

A few of the pieces from Berlin won’t be on display in Turin, for instance Aperiodic_Vertebrae by Theverymany aka Marc Fornes and Skylar Tibbits. This ambitious installation turned out to be too complex for the show at [DAM]Berlin, and so we sadly had to display a creative deconstruction of the intricate polygon structure instead of the cantilever bridge-like form it was meant to be. But now there is the exciting news that Skylar and Marc are producing a reworked and more stable version for NODE08 in Frankfurt. We look forward to seeing documentation of it fully built.

A few pieces have been also been added, the results of a fabbing workshop at HyperWerk that followed on the heels of the Berlin workshop and featured some of the same people. Martin Fuchs has provided some intriguing polygon forms in paper and cardboard that he didn’t have time to finish in Berlin, and Leander Herzog has produced a selection of plastic branching structures that point towards an organic exploration of plastic as material.

The big list of Thank you!

As the project now finally winds down, we wish to express our gratitude to everybody who contributed to making Generator.x 2.0 such a great even, in particular the following:

  • Club Transmediale, in particular the curators Jan Rohlf and Oliver Baurhenn who gave the project the green light and supported it wonderfully through its various phases.
  • Anke Eckardt, for being an excellent producer both for the workshop and for the concert evening.
  • [DAM]Berlin and Wolf Lieser, for providing the gallery space and much-needed help in turning a big mess into a presentable exhibition in the space of a single afternoon.
  • The Ballhaus Naunynstrasse and its crew, for providing everything from technical support to much-needed coffee.
  • Lasern and Martin Bauer, for making it possible to have a laser cutter on site, and for helping out with laser know-how.
  • HyperWerk Institute for Postindustrial Design, for fabbing support and for contributing a quota of skilled students.
  • The Office For Contemporary Art Norway for supporting the project financially.
  • Bruce Sterling and Luca Barbeni of the SHARE Festival, for taking the show to Italy and showing it to a new audience.

Finally, we wish to thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and generous sharing of skills during the workshop. It was a pleasure to work with you. We can only hope that Generator.x 2.0 will result in new networks being formed, with interesting projects as a result.

 
David Dessens: Foldable fractal / Daniel Widrig: Object01

David Dessens: Foldable fractal / Daniel Widrig: Object01

Apologies in advance to anyone who has grown bored with the stream of posts about Generator.x 2.0, but the project isn’t quite over even though Club Transmediale ended nearly 3 weeks ago. Here are a few updates:

  • At the vernissage in Berlin we had some visitors from Turin, including Bruce Sterling who is the guest curator of the Piemonte Share festival. The theme of Share this year is “manufacturing”, so discussions quickly began about the possibilities of taking the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition to Turin. As a result, Generator.x 2.0 will open in Turin March 11 as part of the Share festival.
  • Regine Débatty just posted a very favorable review of the exhibition on We-make-money-not-art. She says it’s “the best show in town right now”, which is most welcome praise indeed.
  • Quite a few videos from the vernissage have been posted online. Eno Henze has a good walkthrough of the exhibition, but there are also videos from MovingWeb, WatchBerlin and VernissageTV.
  • Institut HyperWerk HGK FHNW was one of the partners for the Generator.x 2.0 workshop in Berlin. It now looks as though this collaboration will continue with a potential presence at the Ars Electronica festival later this year. Meanwhile, a generative fabbing workshop is currently underway at HyperWerk, with results being posted to Flickr.
 

This evening will see the second part of the public presentations of Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen. While the focus is architecture, the speakers will come at the topic from very different angles, with more focus on virtual environments and parametric form than on housing units and retail space.

Presentations are 19:00-21:00 at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Naunynstrasse 27.

  • Aram Bartholl [DE]
  • Tim Schork – Mesne [DE / AUS]
  • David Dessens [FR]
  • Skylar Tibbits – Theverymany [US]

» Aram Bartholl [DE] trained as an architect, but has since turned his attention towards the intersection of physical and virtual space. Works such as Chat and WoW translate elements of computer culture into literal physical manifestations, enforcing their quality as cultural artifacts while challenging our acceptance of them.

» Tim Schork [DE / AUS] is an architect who explores digital tools within generative design processes, with an emphasis on fabrication and making. One half of experimental studio Mesne, Schork also lectures at RMIT University in Melbourne while pursuing PhD research that examines computational models in architecture.

» David Dessens [FR] has quickly become an inspiration within the VVVV community, known for his dynamic forms and strong graphic style. He will show his realtime performance systems at the Club Transmediale in concert with Fabian Lamar, as well as doing a VJ set.

» Skylar Tibbits [US] is one part of Theverymany, an architectural collective formed by Marc Fornes to explore “protocols of precise indetermination”. Together, they curated the recent Scriptedbypurpose exhibition, an important survey of the current trend of computational architecture. Theverymany is also taking part in the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition with Aperiodic_Vertebrae, a new installation composed of nearly 500 elements.

 

The Generator.x 2.0 workshop is now well underway, with participants starting to get to grips with the laser cutter and CNC mill. To give an idea of what we’re working on we’ve set up a project blog as well a Flickr group specifically for the workshop. Expect to see some early results in the next few days.

The first evening of public presentations saw plenty of Berliners turning up in numbers to hear some very interesting talks. Boris Müller gave an introduction to thinking computationally about design issues, exemplified by his series of projects for Poetry on the Road. A high point was his response to criticism of the 2006 edition, which used poems as datasets to create intricate graphs:

“Creating beutiful [sic] images to impress people is relatively easy, while making visualizations to explore, enable profound insights, and see the invisible, is extremely harder and requires a lot more devotion than this.” – Enrico Bertini

Besides the questionable truthfulness of the notion that creating beautiful images is easy, this criticism misses the point. The intention of Boris’ piece was never to “enable profound insights”, but to provide a visual context for the poetry festival. While his beautiful graphs do in fact constitute decodable data, that fact is all but incidental to their real function: To be visual poetry.

Eno Henze / Satoru Sugihara

Morphosis: Phare Tower / Eno Henze: The Human Factor

Satoru Sugihara presented his computational design work for Morphosis, in particular the Phare Tower in Paris. A 300 meter high skyscraper scheduled to be completed by 2012, Phare Tower will dwarf the nearby Arche de La Défense. Sugihara worked on optimizing the building’s window grid using physical models, taking both cost of construction and energy efficiency into account. The “skin” of the building includes metal plates placed at computed locations and angles, in order to reflect sunshine as well as produce a signature facade pattern.

Last presenter out was Eno Henze [DE], a generative artist whose ambivalence towards the use of computers only serves to give his work a greater depth. While his high-end interaction design for Meso is impressive, his work with spatialized computer drawings like Wirklichkeitsschaum and The Human Factor show a conceptual depth combined with a great attention to formal composition.

The second round of presentations tomorrow Monday should be a worthy followup, featuring Aram Bartholl, Tim Schork, David Dessens and Skylar Tibbits.

 

Generator.x 2.0 kicks off this Thursday with an evening of presentations open to the general public. This is the first of two such evenings, bringing the topics of the workshop to a larger audience and providing a discursive track to an otherwise hands-on event.

  • Keynote: Marius Watz [NO]
  • Boris Müller [DE]
  • Satoru Sugihara – Morphosis [JP/US]
  • Eno Henze [DE]

If you are in Berlin we hope to see you at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse!
 

» Marius Watz [NO] is an artist exploring visual abstraction through generative systems, and has recently started using rapid prototyping to translate his forms into physical space. He is the founder of Generator.x as well as a lecturer at the Oslo School of Architecture and the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO).

» Boris Müller [DE] is Professor of Interaction Design at FH Potsdam. Educated at the Royal College of Art in London, he is a veteran of computational designer. His series of works for Poetry on the Road has received multiple awards.

» Satoru Sugihara [JP/US] is a computational designer at the renowned architecture studio Morphosis, having previously worked with Greg Lynn Form and DR_D (Dagmar Richter). Possessing Master degrees in both computer Sscience and architecture, he uses parametric systems to investigate adaptive solutions to spatial problems.

» Eno Henze [DE] explores the duality between computational and human processes, often combining manual labor with generative systems. Dissatisfied with the screen as interface, he is constantly experimenting with innovative modes of presentation.

 

Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the screen is now only a week away, and we’re busy planning the last details. The call for participants was a definitive success, allowing us the privilege of a strong group of candidates to choose from. Participants were selected for the quality of their work as well as for their diverse approaches to digital fabrication. The result is an interesting mix of artists, architects and designers, united by their use of code-based processes, but showing very different strategies and intentions in their work.

For now the Club Transmediale site has the most complete list of Generator.x 2.0 events. In addition to the workshop and exhibition, there will also be two evenings of public presentations. A precise schedule with more details will be published here in the coming days.

Generator.x 2.0 – List of participants