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: mapping

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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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USGS Astrogeology Research Program: West side of the moon

USGS Astrogeology Research Program: West side of the moon

30gms just posted a link to the work of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Research Program on mapping the Moon. The maps are based on data from lunar missions in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and show the geological composition of the lunar surface.

The maps are visually stunning in their abstraction. The many craters become clusters of colors, giving the appearance of a complex composition. The palette is striking and chosen for contrast, but avoiding primary color clichés. Interestingly, both the colors and composition make the maps somewhat reminiscent of the work of Joshua Davis. Compare for instance with his light box images for OFFF.

The USGS site generously offers digital downloads of the maps in a variety of formats. The PDF versions are full vector quality, and are amazing to look at in high resolution. Would-be astrogeologists should check out the USGS Planetary GIS Web Server, a project with the charming acronym PIGWAD.

USGS Astrogeology Research Program: West side of the moon

USGS Astrogeology Research Program: West side of the moon


Alex Dragulescu: Extrusions in C major (detail) / Blogbot (detail)

[Read pt.1 for completion] Dragulescu’s Extrusions in C major uses music as its input, specifically the “Trio C-Major for Piano, Violin, and Cello” by Mozart. Here the artist rigorously describes his mapping: Different colors represent different instruments, while each segment of the fragmented forms represent a single note, with characteristics such as velocity and duration controlling the development of the form. The final form represents the temporal structure of the piece.

Blogbot and related projects Havoc and Algorithms of the Absurd represent a slightly different approach with a performative flair. Blogbot generates “experimental graphic novels” from content found on blogs. Texts are presented as though being read, appearing line by line accompanied by visual icons.

The online example What I Did Last Summer appropriates pixellated images of war machines and soldiers taken from computer games. They are then used to illuminate a narrative of fragments from two blogs relating to the Iraq war. One is by an American soldier and contains details of raids and military maneuvers, the other is the famous blog of Salaam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger. The introduction of temporal and graphic aspects to the text turns it into a performed narrative. Simultaneously, a graphic composition of increasing complexity is created as the text grows on the canvas.

Lev Manovich speaks of data visualization as the New Abstraction (see Data Visualisation as New Abstraction and Anti-Sublime, Word DOC file). In this context Dragulescu certainly presents an interesting take on info-aesthetics, with complex data sets being appreciated for their structural beauty alone.

Alex Dragulescu is from Romania and currently leads the Experimental Game Lab at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts at University of California, San Diego.


Alex Dragulescu: Spam Architecture (detail) / Spam Plants (detail)

Romanian artist Alex Dragulescu turns data sets into raw materials for the generation of tantalizing 2D and 3D forms. Rather than scientific visualization intent on clarifying the content of the data, Dragulescu creates graphic and temporal compositions notable for their strong graphic qualities.

Spam Architecture is one project that has garnered much attention recently. Here spam is translated into three-dimensional form by analysing keywords and patterns in the text. Like its sibling project Spam Plants, it explores the mapping of textual data into spatial configurations.

All trace of the original data source is absent in the final result. No reference to the textual material remains, nor of the analytical process involved. Instead, a single coherent form is presented, with no signifiers indicating its origin. In this sense, the spam data could be said to simply constitute an arbitrary pseudo-random data input, with the result bearing no semantic connection to the raw material that it was generated from.

Dragulescu does not provide clues or any rational way of evaluating the nature of the mapping. But nor does he make a claim to producing literal meaning. Hence the viewer is free to enjoy the results as a complex formal experiment in which spam undergoes a process of transsubstantiation, transformed from a source of irritation into intriguing objects of great beauty.

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.)

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