Art From Code: A Response to Vera Molnár

Vera Molnár’s work is defined by a minimal, geometric aesthetic. Bearing this in mind, I rendered a series of spirals comprised of small dots for the initial iteration of my homage to her. The spirals were created using a for loop. Adhering to the principal of gradualism, my second iteration varies only in the value of the scalar, which I increased.

In my third variation, the form of the spiral was altered by changing sine to tangent within the loop.

For the fourth iteration, I strayed from Molnár’s heuristic by returning to my initial image instead of modifying the iterations in a sequential manner. Further variations on the fourth image felt cluttered to me, and the coding process ceased to be legible in the image. In retrospect, that probably could have been avoided had I made subtler changes to the prior images, or had I incrementally varied only one aspect of the code. The fourth image was created by adding randomness.

My final image was the result of an accident. My intention was to incorporate the row of spirals into a grid, and the following image was the result of adding an integer meant to control the size of the grid. This certainly fulfills the “surprise” criteria of Molnár’s “monotony, symmetry, and surprise.”

The entirety of this effort was not governed by machine, but I definitely felt I was working in tandem with it. The computer cuts out the tedious work of creating perfect circles and rows, which I would otherwise have to do by hand, centering the focus on the creative decisions made rather than the precision of the rendering. A series created with a gradualist process presents the narrative of the artist’s creative decisions, so the series is more significant than the individual images it is comprised of.

Repetition isn’t inherently meaningful or creative, but I think Molnár’s process is interesting in the way it highlights small decisions. The small decisions an artist makes can reflect their conscious and subconscious thought processes in a way that contains meaning.