Tag Archives: generative art

System: Beyond 184

It’s all been leading up to this.

Beyond 184

Let’s have a little urban fantasy. You’re on top of a skyscraper. You look down, and you see the neon world below. It’s beautiful, it’s alive.

And I wanted to capture that.

To build a living place, just pretty neon buildings alone are not enough. After all, the buildings are nothing without the inhabitants. And so, the streets are full of life. They are filled with traffic, with people going around their lives. An entire system that simulates a small world is behind each pair of these headlights.

City in action

When I first found out about this class and interviewed for it, one of the examples of what I considered “Art from Code” was a beautiful video by baku89 that utilized cellular automata. I found it so fascinating that a mathematical model made out of a grid of cells – all using pretty simple rules that determine if a cell will be “filled” or “empty” in the next generation – could produce something so beautiful.

All the pieces ended up falling together in a way that pushed me to explore cellular automata further: this class’ final prompt being “systems”, and the discrete mathematics’ class’ exploration of logic.

Game of Life

As this class progressed, I found myself exploring and implementing cellular automata rules, and even creating a few of my own, such as this automata, which generates a city grid, similar to Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Woogie Boogie:

Broadway Walkie Talkie

So, for my conference projects – both for Art from Code and Discrete Mathematics – I chose to work with cellular automata.


Having finally returned to New York City after spending a lot time living in suburban hell, Manhattan was all that I had on my mind.

I thought back to other generative projects I’ve seen – and one in particular stood out. Called Pixel City, this screensaver generated an entire city, full of unique buildings and even street traffic. But the traffic wasn’t really “alive”. And I wanted to fix that.

Pixel City

I decided to base my project on a cellular automata called Rule 184, expanding upon it to create a more interesting traffic simulation in two dimensions (hence, I called it “Beyond 184”). The Rule 184 cellular automata simulates vehicles moving on a one-dimensional road with a very simple set of rules:

  • If a cell is occupied, and the next (right) cell is empty, the cell becomes empty
  • If a cell is empty, and the previous (left) cell is occupied, the cell becomes occupied
  • If a cell is occupied, and the next cell is occupied, the cell stays occupied
  • If a cell is empty, and the previous cell is empty, the cell stays empty

I expanded upon these rules, adding a “cooldown” – that is, the ability of cells to stay in place for one or two generations before moving. This gave me the ability to have a city with “cars” that can move at different speeds. Along with that, I made it so that cells with a lower cooldown will not be able to come to a full stop immediately – simulating how actual vehicles in the real world will have different braking distances depending on how fast they are moving.

I brought this rule to two dimensions by creating a “source-destination” structure, which allowed for moving 1-D traffic cellular automata to two dimensions with minimal modifications. With this structure, as applied to the Rule 184 above, a “road” cell’s “source” and “destination” values dictate what a cell considers its “previous” and “next” cell. By requiring the cells to be connected to one another (that is, a cell’s destination value should be equal to the next cell’s source value for the chain to be complete), I gained the ability to control traffic flow.

I added a unique type of road cell that is called an intersection. This cell, instead of using a single “source” and “destination” value, has two of each, and with every generation, determines which values should be used, with the underlying logic attempting to move traffic from busier roads to less busy roads – after all, throwing more cars at a traffic jam doesn’t help anybody.

You can find more detailed information on how this cellular automaton was created in the paper I wrote for my Discrete Mathematics class, which, along with the source code for the simulation, are available at the GitHub repository.

Beyond 184

Believe it or not, that grid filled with squares is the very same simulation you saw at the beginning.

Doesn’t look that great, huh. That’s because it needs a home. It needs to live inside of a city.

Time to put the “art” into “Art from Code”.

The city motif was present in my creations since the very first thing I made for the class:

Scrolling city

I ended up taking a more minimal approach, and before I brought the city and the traffic model together, this is what I ended up with:

3D test

Once I brought the two together, it wasn’t just city-inspired creations that helped me with the process. Little bits of everything I’ve learned this semester all came together to create my neon city.


The alternating colors that I used were obtained using the same method I used to create the random files and folders that I used for a part of my self-portrait.

Continuing experimentsThe random buildings and the way I ended up having them use different colors was born from an experiment for one of my other projects – one that didn’t even make it into the final project.

Yuki machi

One of the wallpapers I’ve made before gave me the idea to reduce my buildings to glowing blocks of neon.

With all that, I eventually ended up with my final result. A living neon city.

As seen from above

And I think it’s pretty nice.

Conference Post-Mortem: Iterative Painting

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-31-21-pm   screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-31-08-pm

RGB Grain

Ultimately, I have produced five digital, animated, iterative paintings. This was certainly my intention. Nothing really went wrong. However there are some aspects incorporated into my five pieces that surprised me and there are some aspects that, I think, could have been improved and that I hope to improve.

Initially, I aimed to make five pieces all based off of my original colorbar class, which iterates pixel-high rectangles of variable color along the height of a five-pixel-wide bar that can be moved across the screen, essentially “painting” itself if the background isn’t called. Moving forward with the class, I simply wanted to incorporate the new skills we learned since the early days of for loops. Not so simple, actually. I didn’t have much difficulty understanding individual concepts over the course of the semester, but in attempting to combine them I found that creative use of these skills together is the real challenge and most definitely the thing I have to play with if I really want creative control over my ideas. The final pieces were much more reliant on variations and additions to the original for loop than I wished. However a couple of the pieces I think were very successful in exploring the possibilities of layering simple loops because of this more reduced framework.

RGB Grain (above) is my favorite painting, and it was also the first I coded. It relies on three different colorbars and a basic interactive function to produce semi-predictable color and texture effects and animation. One colorbar moves left, one moves right, and one acts as a shifting color field. The latter is responsible for the more dramatic, intermittent color/texture shifts, as it takes longer to screenwrap and, once it does, it iterates a great number of thin colored lines across the entire canvas at once. A mouse-press function resets this colorbar with a semi-random, red-leaning color-value, and this allows the viewer of the painting to disrupt its semi-predictable loop and introduce more variation, color and texture-wise, into the piece. I titled it RGB Grain because the way the colorbars “ripple” across each other suggests there is a with and against the grain to each of them.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-31-48-pm   screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-33-32-pm

Gross Picnic Blanket and Skywiper

My other pieces tended to involve these three more consistently colored color bars than the more variant ones of Cut Canvas and Heat Scan. My experiments were more with composition, rhythm, shape, and opacity. The biggest challenge was making the pieces appear organic and smooth in their changes. I don’t think I was entirely successful in doing this across all five. Most notably, Flared was a challenge. I attempted to use the colorbar from Cut Canvas to make a piece along the lines of RGB Grain. Though I think the dynamic, lively quality of the colors and shapes is interesting, the piece doesn’t vary and evolve as much as it should. The same goes, I think, for Screenbound Ectoplasm Wipe. On the note of that piece, though, I did uncover a couple avenues I would like to explore further in the future through my failures. For Screenbound, I found it interesting how using a noise field of simple shapes below a semi-transparent color bar can produce a textured “trail” as the bar wipes across canvas. Using noise and transparency to create texture is probably the next thing I want to explore in Processing.

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Flared and Screenbound Ectoplasm Wipe

I do wish I had more time to work on most of these. I like to save multiple iterations of a piece as I work on it and discover new avenues. I can make “nice” looking things quickly, but I am ambitious with my ideas and I like to follow through with good execution. Though it’s very easy to get into an improvisatory dialogue with Processing and to get interesting, pretty results in this way, I think having a strong initial idea is very important. Otherwise you can just keep working on one file and it can keep evolving into different things. It’s important to have an idea to work towards. That’s not to say, though, that experimentation in Processing is bad and useless. One of the great things about it is how easy it makes experimentation.

Lastly, overall Processing pushed me to work in a different way. I don’t usually think too much about color, texture, etc. in the production of my work in other media. I tend to be more of a conceptual artist who, nonetheless, likes to have sensual qualities in his work. Processing brought me back to basics in a way. I found out that I really lean towards the color blue. It taught me that good work can come from simple use of specific tools, that I don’t always need conceptual justification for making things. In the past few years I have really felt that digital art is very important and will become increasingly so. Maybe the conceptual tendency of my work can simply be bound up in the simple use of a particular tool that I have reason to believe is important. Instead of coming up with conceptual justifications for my use of a particular medium, just let the use of the medium justify itself.


Conference Post Mortem:: Wave Clocks

The final collection of wave clocks I finished with for my conference work were a much more polished portfolio than I had started out with. In the beginning, I had five sketches, each representing five different themes. In the end I had cut down my collection to four sketches, each still with a separate theme. The finished sketches were also better versions of themselves given that they were more visually coherent. The idea behind this conference project was to create several themed wave clocks that successfully articulated the emotion behind their respective names through color and presentation. As finished pieces, I feel confident that each sketch does exhibit the nature of its real world counterpart.


A still from Pineapple.

A still from Pineapple.

The first sketch I worked on was Pineapple. Given an interesting swatch of browns, greens, and yellows found on Adobe Kuler, I felt inspired to create a wave clock around the tropical fruit. From the start I knew I wanted to use an array to create a background pattern. To me this would reflect the pineapples patterned outer skin. With no other animated components other than the three wave clocks in center, the sketch was very simple, and there wasn’t much to tweak.

A photo of pineapple skin courtesy of Angelina Hills.



A still from Pineapple.

Saltwater was also somewhat straightforward. Already the wave clock motion was fluid so I wanted something else to compliment that motion in the background. I chose to have four different semicircles ebb inwards from the four corners towards the waveclock, simulating waves. With a great combination of rich blues, the sketch in the end was very smooth and peaceful, reflecting a current-like motion.


A still from Sarah.

The color palette for Sarah came from the fact that I had originally searched for Sarah Lawrence in Adobe Kuler, hoping that some art student had uploaded a color combination in light of their school spirit. However, nothing for Sarah Lawrence came up. Instead a vibrant palette for Sarah showed, with some beautiful reds and so I opted for that instead. Like Pineapple, nothing changed much since the first iterations over the course of me tweaking these sketches. The randomly generated lines from the four corners of the sketch mirror the components of Saltwater, but give a different feel. Rather than a pushing motion towards the center, the layered lines illuminates the borders drawing out the center of the piece which is a medley of red variants.


A still from Spider.

A still from Spider.

Spider was initially a sketch called Greyscale, and I feel as if I’ve cut a corner by renaming the whole sketch to reflect its visual components. Upon finding that static polygons did not fit with the whole composition of a wave clock, I used a circle class to create a number of different animated circles that bounced within the borders of the sketch frame. The title ‘Spider’ seemed much more appropriate given the arachnid like motion at the center of the frail white lines that cover the sketch. The most extreme of all my sketches, Spider’s background components actually challenge the fluidity of the center piece by criss crossing the screen with layers of white. There is an actual interaction with both the background and the centerpiece when the rest of my sketches treat both as entirely separate entities. The grey wave clocks in the center actually look entangled in the white web created by the roving spheres.

In the end, I chose to remove the sketch Moth from my compilation. What I wanted to achieve with moth did not fit the central theme of my project and so I left it out. Other than that, there were no other big upsets with the whole project. Every sketch successfully presented a combination of three wave clocks as the centerpiece with background components that complimented the wave clock motion and aesthetic. There was not really any particular final image I had in mind for any of these sketches. Despite the process of going through Adobe Kuler and finding themes for the sketches based on intriguing color palettes, the rest of my method was made up on the spot. I went with my intuition about what I wanted each sketch to have and worked with trial and error. An array for Pineapple, classes for Spider, the random function for Sarah, etc… Each sketch incorporated a different coding lesson we learned this semester. I don’t think it’s fair to say anything went wrong, because in the spirit of generative art, any outcome was accepted. In comparison to analogue installations, working with Processing allows a lot of room for error, and so with no specific end goal in mind, there was no positive or negative way to critically think about mistakes.  

Conference Project Post-Mortem: An American Life

For my conference project I created a series of movies that explored my placement in an American context and the ways in which I could use Processing and generative art to challenge or alter the original narrative of the photograph.

I began by finding photographs of American families in Ithaca. I then photoshopped myself into the images and split them into .jpg and .png files with some transparent portions so that I would be able to code in-between the layers.

The code itself was rendered in pure red to emulate the aesthetic of Barbara Kruger’s work. Many of the aesthetic techniques used were also reminiscent of John Baldessari’s dot series, where the graphic obstructions not only created visual tension, but also added a psychological distance between the viewer and the subjects of the photographs.

When I first began the project, all I knew is that I wanted to use photographs so I would have some tension between the coded graphics and the photographic image. However, I was at a loss for what photographs to use, and the approach I wanted to take. For a while I was browsing through old photos that I had taken. There was no real system, I was just looking for ones that caught my eye. Because there was a lack of purpose, I found it hard to make anything really interesting.


The idea for this slightly more political approach to the project came to me while I was in a thrift store, browsing through various old knick-knacks that, to me, were strongly representative of a specific American narrative. This was just a few weeks after the disheartening election results, and I was questioning my place and future in this country. I had used old found photographs for a previous project whilst I was studying in Berlin, and I knew the existing power and narrative in their composition would provide a fruitful grounding for my project.

Funnily enough, it was the pieces that I hadn’t previously sketched and planned for that turned out to be some of my favorites. Particularly, No.4 and No.5 in my series. I think when I started planning them in my sketchbook first, I was too focused on how to control the code, rather than how to create a system in which the generative nature of my work could create an interesting effect itself.

I also at one point became too reliant on Baldessari’s visual techniques. In No.1, I struggled to manipulate the spirals so that they wouldn’t just end up forming red dots on the faces in the photo, as it would be too similar to the dot series. In the end, I created a piece that changed very incrementally over time, and I think the difference before and after is quite striking. screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-2-49-11-pm screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-2-49-33-pm screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-2-50-10-pm

This change over time was definitely something I wanted to incorporate into my sketches, to make the photographs more dynamic and so that I could take full advantage of the properties of generative art. I was surprised to find that the vertex drawings I did, and changing them incrementally over time, wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.


For No.2, I assigned variables to each vertex point of each shape, and added a noise incrementation so that they seemed to be expanding and growing in a somewhat organic fashion.

In every sketch, the axes that crossed particular portions of the photograph were very important. Mostly, I aligned the sketches to an axis that crossed over the eyes of the subjects. Though I wanted to differentiate myself from Baldessari, I also recognized that distracting and obstructing the face often had the most jarring effect on the viewer.

I also used loops in most, if not all, of my sketches. The allowed me to create these graphic accumulations onto of the images.

Because I was pretty excited about this project, time management wasn’t too much of an issue. However, I wasn’t quite aware when I started how many steps there would be. The process involved going to a number of thrift stores and flea markets, carefully selecting images, scanning them in, editing myself into them, creating the code, then finally creating the movie files. What took the most time was creating the code, but I did feel myself growing more comfortable with the code. I was much more careful with commenting out which code did what, which gave allowed me to navigate through the code more easily. Though control isn’t the ultimate goal of generative art, the ability to understand my code more easily gave me a certain measure of clarity so I could ensure that my goals would be fulfilled in the project.

One of my main concerns would be whether or not the insertion of myself into the images is fully necessary or even noticeable in many of the pieces. Aside from the wedding photo, I inserted myself into the periphery of the images, purposely out of the main line of site.

With No. 4, I feel as though suddenly it becomes noticeable that, of all the faces turned towards the camera, only mine isn’t obstructed in the end. No.1 also has me in the periphery, and when the image turns red and everyones eyes are marked out, mine is the only one left.

However, with No.2, I inserted myself with my back turned. I’m not sure if my insertion here is done to any effect, really. And the accumulations on the three main subjects, while it erases them, doesn’t distract from them at all. In fact, my focus has mainly stayed on them.

At the end of the day, I’m quite proud of what I accomplished with this project. I like the series as a whole, and I think the pieces do quite well together. I think the red on the high contrast black and white photographs is quite striking, and I think I definitely achieved my goal in changing the narrative and nature of the photographs throughout the series.

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Distortion

doodle-7 doodle-9

What I have finally made are shapes that change.  I played around with different shapes using a call to ellipse and to curveVertex.  I used color, height, noise, and width to change the shapes.  Some pieces changed over time because I was not happy with how they looked.  I wanted more change in certain pieces, so I changed those to reflect that.  In some pieces, I liked how the vertex drawings changed, but the vertex drawings also kept increasing in size as well.  I couldn’t control how the vertex drawings grew over time.  I like how most of my pieces came out.  I like the colors I used for my Pastel drawing.  At first, getting shapes to change was difficult and I couldn’t figure out how to do it, but after messing with the code, I managed to change the shapes.  From there, getting shapes to change was easier.  Overall, I think I managed my time well, although I could have finished my last piece sooner.  I think my pieces turned out well.  I think I was able to show my vision for my project well.

My projects were coded with active mode to bring the shapes to life.  I used variables for conditionals, and to make certain coding easier.  A lot of my pieces have similar color schemes, but in a few I experimented with color more; I used pastel colors and more contrasting colors for a few.  All of my pieces are animated so that they move and add on through time.  I used loops to make my pieces change and to create the vertex drawings.  Noise creates the shapes in curveVertex.  In one of my pieces, I used 3 dimensions to change the shape of the curveVertex.

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Scratch Lag

1screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-39-29-pm 2screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-41-37-pm screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-42-46-pm.3 4.screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-38-27-pm

I attempted to make hard-coded and animated recreations of Hirsh’s style from Scratch Pad using processing and although some do not fully capture the expressive experimental style of his film I am content with the results.

The project first began to change from my initial intentions when I had to understand the limits of the softwares ability to create functions that would sometimes contradict each other in order to create the same patterns as Hirsh. This was particularly the case when I first began hardcoding his patterns and when I had to animate them the coordinates of the designs would chaotically sprout of control. I had this problem with sketch 1, which is a screenshot of a hardcoded image, and in the film that pattern rotates across the screen but when I tried this in processing the entire image was rotated into a sporadic mixture of shapes. screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-1-16-39-pm


Even though this code did not turn out how I expected it to, I think it captures the same intent of Hirsh’s pattern by creating a pattern that is unrestrained by the intents of the artist, given itself its own sense of autonomy.

However, what went right with the project is that using noise was an effective method to capture the same effects of Hirsh’s patterns as well as the fine details of his film. I thought noise was particularly useful in image number 2 where I used “for” to create a series of black dots to apply the same kind of graininess as in the original footage, as well as to create a contrasting static effect with the stillness of the background. For image number 3 I used “laststep” in order to create a singular generative pattern of lines and implemented the “random” function to their coordinates.

When I first began on these sketches I momentarily struggled with creating shapes made to look like they were drawn with expression of a human or chemical reaction rather than the pinpoint accuracy of a computer. However once I properly understood the system of vertex shapes and their relationship with “bezierVertex” commands the process became much more fluid. I also found “curveVertex” shapes to become progressively easier the more specific I was with the shapes and fill I desired. This was particularly the case with image number 4 where I incorporated a portrait photograph of myself and outlined certain areas of my face to add expression and add random to fill my shadow in order to change its form.

Overall I think the sketches are aesthetically appealing but I also think they need to be more fine tuned and include more functions in order to show more signs of progressions in the forms displayed.

For image no.3 I changed the coordinates of the black foreground into a diagonal line in order to change the picture plane so that it wouldn’t appear as flat as before. I then drew subtle lines using noise to appear as plants being blown by wind and then created a black sun using noise lines. I then created  a second telephone pole and connected it to the first white telephone pole with electrical lines . I called the movie ‘Desert Highway’ because I think the overall image looks like a desert landscape and that there is an uncanny resemblance the figures and shapes in the film have to natural or industrial structures in real life.




For image no.2 I added a noise background with texture just like in the film and added noise to all sides of the yellow square so that there is a constant flow of movement with all the patterns in the sketch. I called this sketch ‘Static because I thought the noise patterns are quite intense like the electric static on an old fashioned television.



For image no.1 I used ‘push matrix’ and ‘pull matrix’ in order to make individual shapes rotate independently of each other. The shapes now rotate in a complete circle and also as a result create interesting patterns that continue to develop as the shapes continuously rotate.


I created another sketch from Hirsh’s film where a series of randomly drawn dots fill up the screen:


In order to create every uniquely shaped dot I used ‘curveVertex’ which resulted in the shapes in the recreation being almost identical to the original footage:screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-4-47-59-pm


I then made the sketch interactive by implementing ‘mouseX’ and ‘mouseY’ into the shapes coordinates along with noise too so that the shapes could be constantly moving and changing even when the mouse is stationary.


Conference Project Post-Mortem: Interactive Generative Art

Galaxy (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Galaxy (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

My conference project, entitled Stellar Remnants, investigates the relationship between autonomy and interactivity in generative art through five pieces made in Processing. All of my sketches involve using key presses to influence the variables of a sketch to manipulate amount, size, movement, and color among other things. My first two sketches, Galaxy and Meteor Belt, both use 3D and loops, and expand in a similar way into the x, y, and z dimension. Despite the vast difference in appearance, how the key presses affected the sketch was similar. I used key presses to manipulate the bounding limits of the loops creating the 3D shapes. I also used matrices to rotate each sketch. But what really made the two feel similar was the communication between the interactive keys and the sketch, despite how different the two looked and were modified through interaction. I was worried but as I progressed I attempted different baselines for sketches to influence a different relationship between the interaction and the program. For example the last sketch I made, Shooting Stars, pushed me out of my comfort zone by using classes.

Meteor Belt (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Meteor Belt (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Involving classes was a difficult, yet worthwhile adjustment that facilitated a different type of interactivity connection. Namely what it allowed was for me to have three interactive bodies, whereas in past sketches only one single object or group would be modified through interaction. How a participant interacts with each of the three “stars” is the same, but the fact that each interaction is local to one body allows for the three simple circles to deviate from one another in a generative manner. Additionally to push the envelope I did not use a call to background, but instead a transparent rectangle the size of the campus that allowed for a feeling of animation, but also allowed for texture which none of my other sketches had yet.

Shooting Stars (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Shooting Stars (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

What was intimidating about working with classes is that variables are kept within the class tab of the document, and all of my key presses up until then were in the main document in the draw function. These key presses were solely used to alter variables, and having to worry about which variables were where was a difficult hurdle. However, what I found out is that having classes actually helped with interactivity, as the key presses associated with the interactive bodies could just simply be kept in the class tab as well. Whereas in the past documents I had to have a multitude of lines of key presses with extensive labeling, the organization of the class tab allowed for a cleaner and easier to maneuver document. I am proud with how my ability to work with interactivity evolved into being multifaceted, and of course this could not have happened without what I consider my transitory sketches, Aurora and Nebulae.

Aurora (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Aurora (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Aurora was my third sketch, and thus the first one I worked in 2D, which like classes was an intimidating step considering I was losing the ability to work with a whole dimension. To give this sketch the same complexity that the 3D sketches had, I used multiple noise functions and calls to random, which became difficult as random and noise functions are trickier to control with variable changes.  The sketch ended up with a more quiet feeling than the past two for me, which went hand in hand with how I feel this sketch is the one I had the least control of. All of the other sketches have specific variable increases that I can see clearly reflected when displayed, whereas Aurora’s key presses to me are harder to correlate.

Nebulae (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

Nebulae (2016) Callum Bayle-Spence

After grappling with Aurora for so long, another 2D sketch was daunting, but Nebulae came to fruition in the most broken apart process out of any of the sketches. For the other four I worked at the processing document until I had a foundation I was satisfied with, then I ran with it until 90% completion. Nebulae was quite different in that even after my initial idea of looped transparent circle getting progressively smaller, I had to leave the sketch and come back multiple times to make it progress. Ultimately I ended up with something I am proud of and believe looks aesthetically pleasing, but as far as interactivity is concerned I view this piece to be the weakest.

Galaxy : Ruby

Galaxy : Ruby

Galaxy : Emerald

Galaxy : Emerald

Galaxy : Rainbow Diamond

Galaxy : Rainbow Diamond






With the other sketches I believe the interactions were logical but the changes that occurred had a degree of surprise and worked together like multipliers to add to the spontaneity as more were interacted with. Nebulae on the other hand does not have that same degree of surprise, and if the other sketches had interactivity that multiplied, this one added. Different bodies could be interacted with, but in interacting with multiple elements it was not as if a whole new thing was being formed, just two tampered with shapes. Despite this setback, I am quite pleased with how this project turned out.

Meteor Belt : Venus

Meteor Belt : Venus

Meteor Belt : Cosmic

Meteor Belt : Cosmic

Meteor Belt : Negative

Meteor Belt : Negative






As a whole adhering to a space theme as well as involving interactivity served to be an interesting skew to my creative process that brought up many questions about aesthetics and what should get prevalence. Interactivity allowed for me to give my sketches several colorsets, which also begged the question whether to keep a consistent color theme over the sketches or use what fit each best. I opted for the later as individualizing the colorsets, I believe, was better for highlighting the differences in interactivity.

Aurora : Alone

Aurora : Alone

Aurora : Love

Aurora : Love

Aurora : Other

Aurora : Other






Nebulae : Mole

Nebulae : Mole

Nebulae : Lark

Nebulae : Lark

Nebulae : Crab

Nebulae : Crab






Shooting Stars: Dusk

Shooting Stars: Dusk

Shooting Stars: Twilight

Shooting Stars: Twilight

Shooting Stars: Daybreak

Shooting Stars: Daybreak

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Nature + Code

My conference project’s theme is nature and its replication using code. Nature is known to follow a system and set of rules while utilizing the slightest bit of unpredictability. The same can be said for coding: there are rules to follow, but there’s a lot of room for randomness. I wanted to incorporate this within my code and find just how close to the beauty of nature I could make my sketches. I was very inspired by Holger Lippmann’s work representing aspects of the natural world in his art.

When I began each sketch, I had a few guidelines but not many. For instance, the first sketch I created was Push + Pull based on my original sketchbook drawing of an ocean with the tide coming in and out. I knew what I wanted the general sketch to look like, but I was not prepared for the outcome which exceeded my expectations. With the use of multiple gradients, I was able to form the landscape without using defined shapes. Rather, the gradients are made up of individual lines that change color with each y value (probably?). Then, to add the value of the waves hitting the sand, I used simple noisy white lines. I was very pleased with the end result, not aware that I would even consider using multiple gradients. Even now there is still more I’d like to add, for instance clouds or boats in the distance, but for now I’m very happy with this sketch.

Sketchbook ocean

Sketchbook ocean

Push + Pull (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Push + Pull (2016) Kaili Aloupis

My following sketch Anthocyanin is based on an idea I had of flower garden. Flowers are very interesting and difficult to replicate exactly the same each time. Much like natural flowers, my coded flowers take on new identities with every run of the program. This was my most difficult sketch because it required me to take a concept like Wave Clocks, which has a lot of different parts, and expand upon it. I had to first find the right flow I wanted the petals to follow, but due to the noise in the sketch I could not create the same exact flower each time. I was disappointed, but eventually I made it work by controlling the variables as much as I could. However, it was very frustrating to find what exactly I could control and how. The rest was just a matter of finding the right colors and locations for each of the flowers.

Anthocyanin (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Anthocyanin (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Right now I’m still trying to perfect my Drip Drop sketch. It looks almost identical to the original sketchbook drawing I made earlier in the semester. I really loved the idea and wanted to make it as close to the original as possible. The idea was to create puddles during the rain, and as the rain falls there are ripples throughout the puddles. Instead of using a function to create raindrops like I had originally planned, I found I liked the appearance of simple random ellipses popping up.

Sketchbook puddles

Sketchbook puddles

Drip Drop (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Drip Drop (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Encompassing Sun is the one sketch I implemented 3D in. The first part of my sketch was the sphere in the center, and to make it more dynamic I wanted it to be a rotating sphere that zoomed in and out throughout the sketch. From there I discovered you could get some really interesting patterns when adding the rotate() function to noisy lines, hence the sun’s outer design. There was a lot I had to consider with this sketch such as transform() and push and pop matrix. A lot of it was just guess and check until I finally began to see how things were affected with each change. My plan was to originally just have the sun in the center, but I wanted other spaces in the sketch to be interesting as well, so the other rotating spheres could be other planets. It was a fun sketch that took me by surprise considering how much new material I used that I didn’t even think I would consider.

Sketchbook sun

Sketchbook sun


Encompassing Sun (2016) Kaili Aloupis

All in all, I’m very happy with my work for this conference. It’s really satisfying to see simple sketches in a notebook become dynamic artworks in code. I’m always surprised how different the final product is from my original intention, but I’ve always found it to be for the better. There’s still a lot I need to learn and understand in order to better control my sketches, but I’m very happy with where I am right now.

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Boolean Oceanography

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Preliminary Sketches for Boolean Oceanography ^^

For my conference project, I have made a collection of eight videos that use generative methods to create aquatic motifs through Processing sketches. In each sketchggg, vector drawings warp, contort, and move across the screen in jumpy, irregular, and vibrant patterns—specifically, drawings of whales, jellyfish, and the ocean sun fish. Some sketches are technicolor, blending all of the colors on the RGB scale; while some are monochromatic black and white. All of my videos explore the relationship between digital environment and code, creating imaginative, dreamlike, semi-psychedelic vistas of glitched out aquariums.

In the beginning of my project, I had a much more static vision for a project that relied more heavily on a drawer’s sensibility rather than a coder’s. My initial plans accounted for sketches that were much less dynamic and much less up to chance. These plans did not include the addition of noise or variance, and overall would have had very ordered compositions. As I worked on my virtual ocean, I experimented with different ways of adding noise and variance into my sketches. The more I played around, the more distorted and less ordered my sketches became. While there is undoubtedly a lot of room to add more noise and complexity to my sketches, I am happy with the way that they turned out.

What is right in my pieces is the overall aesthetic. I was able to translate my hand-drawn, loud, messy style well into code. I was very happy with the way that my project evolved as I worked on it. I was unhappy with the amount of restraint that the code had, and wanted to give my work, and the computer, more freedom. This comes across well in sketches like Mola Mola, where the messy, chaotic, rainbow knot on the left hand side contrasts hard against the solid black right hand side. While the drawing of the sunfish itself is highly ordered, and it’s path is somewhat ordered in a way, there is a lot of noise in its motion. The contrast between order and disorder of the two halves of the sketch, and the contrast between the order and disorder of the sunfish vector drawing, definitely highlight the way my praxis, and ultimate product work, changed as I was working on Boolean Oceanography.

The most difficult part, as I already touched on, was adding disorder to my highly ordered plans. It was hard for me to figure out ways that I could hand over more autonomy to my code, and allow it to speak for itself without specific and repeatable instruction from me. I was stuck making these trite little animations that had very few if any generative qualities. But, as I experimented and learned to add noise into my sketch, my work changed and took on a life of its own. Adding more disorder, more noise, and variance to my sketches made them more dynamic, more engaging, and more interesting to look at. My biggest challenge, one that I’m not sure I’ve quite met yet, has been adding variety to my sketches so that they grow and develop on their own and are not so heavy-handed, calculable, and exact.

Surprisingly, learning to vector draw was the most dramatic development of the project. I was really limited by my ability to only draw simple two dimensional shapes in Processing. Getting to draw the ocean-life shapes that I wanted was the most rate-limiting step of my project. Learning to vector draw really broadened my capacity to achieve my vision, and opened up the on-screen canvas. I found myself becoming more inspired when I was working with my own unique drawings instead of basic geometric shapes. I worked slowly, but with good work ethic throughout this project, but at the end when I was trying to add more noise and complexity to my sketches, I could have been more patient and taken more time to more deeply develop each one.

In terms of code, I used the active mode to create sketches that loop indefinitely. Some of my sketches, like Cnidaria Medusozoa, uses a custom function to reset itself and begin fresh each time that the sketch runs its course. Others, like Rainbow Cetology 1 and 2, repeat over and over again, new layers piling on top of older ones and never completely resetting itself. I tried to limit the number of variables, choosing randomization in many instances over specificity for this reason. Most of the time, I used variables to represent specific x and y location values, and then added standard increments to those values, sometimes adding noise and variance at each step. While all of my animations loop in some way, none of my sketches are interactive. While visually engaging, the viewer can’t actually alter the way that the sketches run in any way. This is an area where I could implement change in another iteration of this project. Genuinely, I tended to forego using axes in lieu of setting variables and choosing my own values. For whatever reason, this worked the best with my coding sensibility.

Overall, my final work does achieve a lot of what my original vision set out to do. Aesthetically, it is very pleasant to look at and is a good representation of my artistic sensibility. I love the way that my colors explode across the screen and are vibrant and almost corny. My colors add an old school vibe like something from an old arcade game. Where my project falls short is in its complexity. I said in my proposal that I wanted my project to be dynamic and imbued through and through with generative qualities. Unfortunately, I was unable to give my code the autonomy that I wanted to. I had trouble finding the balance of order and disorder that I sought out, and, in another future iteration of this project, I would definitely throw order out the window and try to add as much chance as possible. I think that I held too much control without allowing the system its own due measure of autonomy.

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Conference Project Post-Mortem: First Impressions


My project is based on the works of Lothar Quinte, whose most known work is featured on First Impressions of Earth by the Strokes. I decided to animate and apply what we’ve learned in class to his images. Throughout the project I kept updating the images with what we’ve learned in class. Quinte’s works are simple and vivid. The goal of my project was to alter this fundamental theme of his artwork. The most common concepts I incorporated were noise and dimension.

In Kreisformation in Rot auf Violettem Grund (Circular Formation in Red on Violet Ground,1965), I added noise to the circle so that the size would change. In order to make it look like the circle is moving in and out of itself I incremented x2 and y2 by y. At first it was just something I had tried out in another sketch; however the result of a circle struggling to maintain a size was something that I wanted to include. I added dimension to the background to create a sort of texture. I wanted the end image to look like a record button since my project is based on an album. This is the sketch a featured at the top of this post.

In Untitled (1965), the artwork featured on First Impressions of Earth, I played around with incrementing the diagonal lines into a swinging motion and reset the framecount. I added dimension to this image as well to create a textured background. The one part I found difficult was to fix was how slow the lines swing. I wanted it to be more of gradual pace but once I added dimension it moved much slower than the original sketch.



In Quinte’s Untitled (1969) and played around with incrementing again – the end result created a textured background when two of the triangles swing down.







In Ohne Titel (also “Untitled”), I used alpha and noise to exchange the singular diagonal lines in the original for multiple lines extended to the corners of the canvas. Furthermore, to add a subtlety, I included an animated ellipse at the background of the image. In the original image there is lighter red spot on the right side of the image. To reflect this in my sketch I used alpha and animated the ellipse to move back and forth throughout the canvas.

Finally, in Blue Fields, III I tried to maintain Quinte’s simplicity in it’s entirety other than moving around the boxes and adding a repeat count.



It was a lot of fun adding the things we learned in class to this sketches. I was particularly surprised by how easy it was to add dimension into a sketch. I really love the way it adds a texture – especially one that is almost feathery and light. It was challenging to figure out how to adapt Quinte’s paintings and retain his style. As a new coder that is still learning about Processing, I was interested in chaotic, complicated sketches that contain a lot of detail. With Quinte’s work I had to try to be more subtle about it because I didn’t want to estrange myself from his simplicity. I don’t think that I’ll ever be truly done with this project – just like Quinte was never finished with his series of untitled images.


concept ideas


concept ideas

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Don’t Forget to Blink

My conference project assignment was to use Victor Vasarely’s optical art pieces, and recreate them using Processing. That wasn’t the goal, though; my goal wasn’t to make something that already existed. It has always been, ever since I started pitching conference ideas, to surprise the brain. The human brain is constantly searching for change in the world; it is always looking for the unexpected, which is why I wanted to create something that amazed. Something that has to be stared at, and every time, there is something about it that makes you look again. No matter what I ended up doing, that was the effect I wanted, and I hope anybody looking at the things I make feels the effort I put in to amaze the brain.

I took five images of work done by Vasarely and recreated them in Processing. At first, I was going to make them circle for circle, color for color, and pixel for pixel. Unsurprisingly, that was very inefficient and Circles pt.1 took me about two hours to code and about 30 minutes alone to do the color. Why did it take that long to code a bunch of circles? Well, I used individual values for the x and y position and the width and height of each circle. When one number was off, I had to find the messed up value and change everything that was affected. For every other sketch, I used variables, so it was faster overall and most importantly, easier to fix when I made a mistake. Throughout the project, I used the Digital Color Meter application on Mac to get the exact values for color. It took a while, but that was the best way to replicate the colors Vasarely used.


Circles pt. 1 ; coded in December, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Circles pt. 1 ; coded in December, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Circles pt. 2 ; coded in December, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Circles pt. 2 ; coded in December, 2016, Kelsey Copley









Mistakes were bound to happen; in my experience with coding, trial and error is a necessary part of the process, and that is part of what makes the final result so satisfying and amazing. At one point, I ran the sketch and a majority of my circles were nowhere to be found, and it was because I was using a minus instead of a plus, so they were somewhere off-canvas. That is just one of many examples I could give where things didn’t go my way, but there were also times where I would get the result I wanted and I would barely be able to tell the difference between mine coded on the computer and Vasarely’s painted works.

Patterns; coded in November, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Patterns; coded in November, 2016, Kelsey Copley

A common concept among all of the pieces is color. Color was so important in this project, I’d go as far to say color carries whatever success my project has. Variables became increasingly important as I worked on this project as well. As I mentioned before, only one of the pieces was made without variables, and it was by far the most exhausting one to make. In Patterns, I relied heavily on loops and break and continue. I used the primitive shapes for all of the pieces, ellipses for most and arcs in Patterns. I coded using the x and y axes for most of the sketches as well. One of my sketches is animated. Abyss was the first of Vasarely’s work that I finished, and while the color gradation was very successful in adding depth, I really wanted to make it move, so I made two of the series of circles and made them pass over each other. Elements I want to add in the future to these pieces and others like them are more animation, a small amount of noise, and a basic level of interactivity, that would most likely involved color changes.

Abyss pt. 1; coded in November 2016, Kelsey Copley

Abyss pt. 1; coded in November 2016, Kelsey Copley

Abyss pt. 2; coded in November 2016, Kelsey Copley

Abyss pt. 2; coded in November 2016, Kelsey Copley








“How was it to make?” My classmates and I were asked this question all semester, and it always stuck out to me as such a startling question. Each time I thought about it, my mind went blank. How was it to make? It was just hard and complicated and confusing, and most of all, frustrating. But it was also amazing and beautiful and so dumbfounding. How am I supposed to put hours of staring at a screen, countless dashed hopes, and unexpected results into words?

Coded in December, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Coded in December, 2016, Kelsey Copley

How was it making this conference project? The first word that comes to mind is stressful, probably because I just really wanted to get it right. More than anything, I just wanted to get it right and do everyone and everything justice. This made every second that I worked on and thought about my project miserable, until today, when I finished recreating the five Vasarely pieces, and made a few Vasarely-inspred sketches like the one shown here. Honestly, I don’t know what changed. One theory is the pressure of having to complete this post. The necessity to finish everything made me appreciate Vasarely’s work, the process of coding, and what I’ve learned this semester a lot more. I actually enjoyed working on conference today, which is something I couldn’t say before.

Whenever I complete an assignment, a paper, a project, I always say that I could’ve managed my time better so that I didn’t have to do so much at the very end, but at this point, I think it’s just my style. I actually like the doing the work when I have the high pressure to complete it. I’m happy with my project as it is now, and I’m excited to incorporate more animation, some interactivity, complexity, and the logical next step, make some optical art in the third dimension. This project will never really be complete, as I will always be trying to astound the brain with my art, whether that’s generative or any other type. I have many plans to continue using Processing and inspirational artists like Vasarely and Bridget Riley to make things that amaze.

This project has definitely been helpful in mastering a lot of basic coding concepts like variables and loops, but I have also been forced to use colors beyond grayscale and the occasional purple. What I gained most from this semester was of course learning a new awesome skill. I had known some Java previously, but this level of understanding is not something I expected from myself. I also have so much more appreciation for technology, and I have been introduced to another facet of art that I will be involved in for probably the rest of my life.

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Flower



Flower: Funeral, Shengluo Zhang

Because some of the previous conference works looked too similar with my work “Daisy,” so I made some change on my piece “Growing” and decided not to use the piece I mentioned in the last post “Windy”. I also added two new pieces called “Funeral” and “Mutate”. All my five pieces show the whole life of a flower: Origin, Growing, Bloom, Mutate and Funeral. 


In the “Growing”, I changed the main part of the flowers and made them keep growing. 

In the “Funeral”, I used noise to present the background, the loop tocrate a black flower like circle in the middle and the translate to make the grey flower in the center. The black flower-like circle is made by rectangles. It’s difficult for me to combine the black flower-like circle with the animated grey flower together, because they both had their own translate and made the code too complicated.

I had considered about making some difference every several seconds, such as change the background color. But I thought the whole work already looks every intense, the changing of background color would make the audiences  anxious. 

I love the pieces I have so far and hope the audiences would love them as well.




Conference Project Proposal: Interactive Generative Art


Philip Galantner defines Generative Art as being “set into motion with some degree of autonomy,” resulting in the completion of the art. If autonomy is key in defining generative art, the presence of interactions raises the question of whether the two can exist. To allow a piecer to interact with a piece of art is to give them a certain degree of dominion over it, and thus theoretically undermines the system’s ability to be autonomous. How exactly can a system be autonomous and also interactive?

Using digital systems, specifically processing, is what I aim to use in order to remedy this opposition of ideals. For me increasing the variables and “moving” parts of a processing sketch to such a degree that system autonomy is greater even when an interactor is brought into the picture. And on the subject of variables I believe the interactor presents an interesting variable in the already convoluted relationship between autonomous program and artist. Just as the artist want so create a piece without controlling it in a way that removes autonomy, the interactor must control the artwork without removing the autonomy. To figure out exactly how I wanted to explore this relationship I looked towards some interactive artworks I had read about and seen in the past.

One such piece is Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei, wherein a room(pictured below) was filled with porcelain sunflower seeds and interactors were brought in to explore the space. Interactors were allowed to touch the seeds and walk on them, experiencing the touch and being to live in the space and artwork.

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What really speaks to me about this work is how people can enter the art and consider themself a part of it. Looking back to projector night and specifically the room me and my colleagues were in, I thoroughly regret how the viewer made sure not to enter the projections. I appreciate the respect to our work but believe a huge opportunity was being lost. Paintings are beautiful forms of art that typical viewers cannot touch, which is where I see waste as far as projections are concerned. Viewers can literally stick their hands in projections and meld with the artwork in a way that is not available with other forms of art. However, as mentioned before for the viewer to really enjoy entering the projection there might need to be a degree of non-randomness that fits immersion, which would counteract and perhaps remove autonomy. I then look towards Swings by Ann Hamilton(pictured below), which is a huge interactive art piece with enormous swings that viewers were encouraged to ride on.

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This work despite being interactive is something I ironically did not interact with despite my interest in it. Being a piece set in the Armory of New York City it was fairly crowded and finding an open swing was hard, but inserting myself into the artwork that I had been marveling at was a daunting wall that I was not able to overcome. There was a beauty to seeing these anonymous bodies floating in beams of light, and viewing myself as one of them was scary. Keeping this in mind, I hope to be able to draw people into interactions with my programs in ways that I hope will push the boundaries of what generative art can be what systems generation can stem from.

Perhaps the most obvious choice for a computer centered system like processing is using the keyboard, which I have elected to do. How exactly the keyboard is used however is something I believe can be pivotal in making the piece interactive without losing generativity. For the first created piece for this conference, I have attempted to group keys into logical groupings but not in such a way that the viewer will immediately be able to fully understand and perfectly control all the associated variables.

Neptune, pictured below, is a sketch involving a loop of spheres “folded” into each other using scale. I alter the baseline(below top left), in four ways. The first is rotation, controlled by the ‘w’, ‘e’, ‘r’, ‘t’, and ‘y’ keys to reset, initiate, increase, direct clockwise, and direct counterclockwise rotation respectively. Second is boundaries, which refers to the upwards limits of the three loops that control the x, y, and z amounts of the spheres. For this I use the ‘j’, ‘k’, and ‘l’ keys which increase the “boundary” of the x, z, and y loops respectively. For example “l” key is pressed to increase the y loop(pictured below top center). Third are the keys that alter dimension, increasing the amount that the circles are scaled by. The ‘b’, ‘n’, and ‘m’ keys are used, altering the x, z, and y amounts of scale respectively(The x dimension being altered is pictured below top right). Of course to give the system autonomy and allow for interaction between differing variables, all of these dimensions and boundaries can be altered at once(resulting in a shape similar to that picture below bottom left). The spacebar also lowers all the dimension and boundary values, moving the sketch towards a reset of the interactive changes. Fourth and finally are six colors keys, split into two sections. The first section, ‘a’, ‘s’, and ‘d’ are used to set the sketch to color sets. These color sets are ruby, emerald(the default for the sketch), amethyst, and diamond respective to the previously mentioned keys, with the colors being reds, greens, purples, and all colors(below bottom right is the amethyst color scheme, the rest are emerald). The final set are the ‘z’, ‘x’, and ‘c’ keys that increase the red, green, and blue amounts are factored into the fill of the shape.

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Neptune is a solid base I intend to both base my other works off of and also deviate. As far as continuations are concerned, the 3D shapes I use allow for three dimensions of change and alteration, which would not be apparent in 2D. Additionally the naming scheme of my artworks will likely follow a space theme to reflect this use of 3D and expansive nature of how my sketches work. I will likely continue to use keypresses, but might reverse or alter how the keys affect the sketch. In Neptune the keys expanded on various parts, whereas a different and opposite route could be have an expanded sketch where the key presses instead limit the sketch (again this is dangerous in terms of autonomy but I would like to attempt it).  There also is the question of how the sketches transform aesthetically, for me the color changes are vastly different than the dimension and shape changes. Color change for me is a minor and slow aesthetic change whereas the dimension shifting is a dynamic shape change. I intend to consider these facets in producing the rest of my conference, and hope to create an array of art pieces that fully explore the relationship between interactivity and autonomous systems in generative art.

Conference Project Proposal: Distortion


My project will be pieces that start with a normal, solid shape but get distorted and changed over time.  For example, I would start with a circle but change the shape over time to eventually make it no longer seem like a circle.  I want to do this idea because the idea of taking a concrete shape and then making it more abstract is cool.  I like interesting shapes that don’t stay the same.  I expect the viewer to see a normal shape at first, but be surprised when the shape slowly gets more and more distorted.  My conference work will show Galanter’s definition of generative art.  My projects will use randomness and time to change the art, resulting in a completed piece.  My work will not be completely random, but it will use an appropriate amount of randomness to change the piece and make it interesting to look at.  I think my project will showcase the things I’ve learned throughout the class.  

My work will look good because I will use a fitting color scheme and make the pieces look interesting and unique.  I built the idea for the project by drawing sketches of repeating, normal shapes and then I decided to slightly change the shape each time I drew it.

I will use the active mode to allow the piece to move and change.  I will use variables as a way to create a custom noise function.  My functions will allow me to have the shapes change and be unique.  I will use color to contrast the shapes with the background.  Randomness will be added to the color to add interest.  The draw function will animate the pieces, making the shapes move and change.  Loops will be added to add shapes to the pieces.  Loops will also allow me to add shapes over a time period.

Conference Project Proposal: Abstracted Interaction

For my conference project, I am making sketches that are in response to Kazimir Malevich’s works entitled: Suprematist Composition. My initial pursuit of this project was inspired by my attraction to art that involves geometric qualities. Malevich’s paintings fully encompass this perspective on art, using abstracted shapes to create a work that is externally appealing despite imperfections.

The original purpose of painting was to create a likeness to something real and tangible. In Malevich’s own way, he evolved this way of thinking and stepped out of this uniform style of perceiving art. He wound up spearheading an abstract art movement in Russia which he called Suprematism. The way he places his shapes on a canvas are never symmetrical on either side, he thinks outside of the box but still manages to create an aesthetic of his own.

Malevich Original Malevich Original 2

For my first sketch, I will be coding Malevich’s work above on the left. Then, to make it my own, I will give it an interactive quality. For my other four sketches, I will be creating sketches that are in response to Malevich’s abstract movement. His color palette and use of shapes particularly stand out to me so in my own way, I will be reflecting these aspects of his work. In regards to the viewer, each of my sketches will either have interactive qualities, animated qualities, or both. I intend to make my work an experience for all who witness it.

There is something  satisfying to me about the use of shapes in art and even with Malevich’s imperfect positioning of these shapes, I still get this feeling. Referencing the Galanter reading, the section discussing the balance of chaos and order very much feels relevant to me in regards to Malevich’s work and the way I want to make my responses. In his series, Malevich creates a very uniform style, you can see a painting and know if it is Galanter or not. Still, within each installment, he directs the placement of his shapes in a way that makes a viewer take a while longer than a realistic painting to process and comprehend. Your eyes want to keep looking for more details to make more observations.

After the artist presentation for Vera Molnar, I became very intrigued by her use of shapes as well. Just as Malevich does, she creates her own style yet also plays around with chaos versus order. You can look at her work or Malevich’s work and think that they are simple, shapes, simple, repeated color palette, simple, but the way they approach their work reveals the subtle system of randomness. With different size shapes, different colors, different positions, variety in shapes, all make each work unique.

As for my intentions for my work, I plan to make them all look aesthetically similar. I want to showcase one style perceived differently in each sketch. I intend for my sketches to look good but good despite their chaos. As I continue with this assignment, I want to force myself to think outside of the box. I tend to over-plan but for this, I want the moves I make with the code to come naturally. If I make a mistake, I want to let this mistake alter my vision and take me down in a different path.


variables: will help me to screen wrap and make my sketches interactive.

color: will help me create a sort of aesthetic among my pieces.

functions / interactivity: will help me create a more interactive display for the viewer.

animation: will be used to add more randomness to the pieces.

loops: will set my sketches apart from malevich’s work, it will bring the shapes to life more.

axes: will be necessary to position some of my shapes.

noise / variance: will help add more chaos and randomness to my sketch.

My progress is as follows…

Ruby - Progress img_9604

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Conference Project Proposal: Iterative “Painting”


Heat Scan, 2016

Since my very early days of using Processing, I’ve been interested in pushing the program to its computational limits. There is such satisfaction in getting the computer working, with its fan running hard and the feeling of it heating up, the danger of it crashing at any moment. It seems like I’m gaining some control over the thing. So often the computer as a piece of machinery is removed from our experience. We see its screen and its content blends with our own cognitive space. This has always been very disturbing to me. I just don’t feel comfortable with this illusion that the computer is an entity or a domain beyond my bodily control. It is just a clunky silly thing made to look so absurdly sleek on the outside.


Cut Canvas, 2016

So, in my coding, I’ve found satisfaction in using these basic, shortcutted drawing functions we’ve been giving (rect, ellipse, line) in their smallest, most basic form (that being at the size of one, maybe two pixels) and as much as possible! I like these swarms and smears of little things because once I get close to manipulating actual pixels on the screen, I feel like I’m working with an actual material and I don’t feel so removed from the computer’s hidden operations. So, for my conference project, I’m basically going to be making CPU intensive, iterative “paintings” in an attempt to develop a more bodily, sensuous, less alienated relationship to my laptop.

My early work is probably the best guide for understanding where I’ll be going with this. Heat Scan (above left) and Cut Canvas (above right) are the prime examples, and Interlacing and Wing relate to a lesser extent. These sketches were actually all built off the same initial code, that of Heat Scan. I built a custom function that loops tiny rectangles of varying colors along the height of a five pixel-wide “colorbar” that wipes across the canvas. The fill colors are responsive to the loop’s iterator h so that there is an interesting color gradation along the height of the colorbar. Background is not called in the draw function so that the colorbar prints or paints itself along the canvas’s width. Once it reaches the canvas’s limit, it screenwraps and lays another layer of itself over itself, with slight variation (actually unnoticeable if you’re nose isn’t to an HD monitor). It’s a simple thing, but that’s why I was able to draw so much out of it. For the rest of the semester I’ll be pushing it further.

A couple ideas I have: first and foremost I want the differences between each layer post-screenwrap to be more apparent. To achieve this perhaps I would start alpha values very high and gradually reduce them each go-round so that we don’t simply get the new layer totally obscuring the previous. I’ve already experimented with using multiple color bars in Cut Canvas, but I would like to experiment further. Interlacing was also a valuable experiment in that I found I could achieve interesting results with a gradual change in background color rather than colorbar. Wing was the first time I tried using different shapes with the colorbar loop (ellipse and line). Departing from my previous efforts I want to experiment with image processing. Perhaps there’s some way to use another sort of scanning bar that will gradually displace the pixels in a jpg loaded into processing. This would move my work away from pure abstraction, which I would be happy about. I also want to try using the push and popmatrix commands to add layers to my work. Lastly I’m very interested by opacity in processing. I find that opacity really makes things look good, but I want to experiment further with how it actually functions.




Skywiper, James Hoff

Artists I’m looking to for inspiration include Gerhard Richter (above left), who does an aesthetically similar “smear” thing with actual paint, James Hoff (above right), who makes digital “paintings” that are actually prints of images that have been infected with computer viruses. I’ve also been paying attention to Callum and Shengluo’s work over the course of the semester, as they both have a way of working with code that is much more logical than my own. Shengluo’s Spooky sketch and Callum’s Alive Again sketch inspire me for their advanced technicality, organic animation, and affectivity.

Ultimately this project should lead to some nice looking things. More importantly I think it will point me in a lot of interesting directions to be explored in the future. The greatest challenge might be to keep my focus on the initial code and really “stay true” to it for the sake of the coherence of the final body of conference work. I do want my five videos to really work together, speak to each other, and complicate each other. If I keep to the initial structure of a “colorbar,” which I think falls squarely in Galantner’s generative art definition (the colorbar is a fixed form moving in a fixed manner but the information encoded in it varies), but simply add on the new tools we’ve learned to use then I think I’ll be good.

Conference Project Proposal: Nature + Code

Perlin Escape (2011) Holger Lippmann

For my conference project, I am interested in recreating elements of nature using Processing. As we further dissected the definition of Generative Art, I found there to be a close relationship to GenArt and nature itself. Both follow set systems of rules, yet are also full of unpredictability. By using Processing, I’m curious as to how I can utilize its tools of controlled randomness to resemble the various aspects within nature. For instance, my sketchbook consists of loose, random drawings of what came to mind when I thought of nature. I wanted a lot of variety such as curves, noise, harsh lines, detail, looseness, etc.

I was greatly inspired by some of the work I had studied of Holger Lippmann for my artist presentation at the beginning of the semester. Though I chose him at random, I felt a very strong connection to his work and felt it represented a lot of my interests as an artist. His work is full of structured randomness, and that’s something I’d like to use within my conference project. For instance, his works titled NoiseWave IX really caught my attention. While using the same shape over and over, Lippmann was able to create beautiful designs of abstract oceans and beaches. This is where I got the idea of nature from for my conference project. I wanted to create work like Lippmann’s: purely digital that also resembles realistic beauty in the world.

NoiseWave IX (2015) Holger Lippmann

I look back on my Night Waves sketch for Projector Night. It’s as if Night Waves is a baby step towards all I would like to accomplish with this conference. I’ve learned a lot since then, and I hope to expand on the tools used within Night Waves such as noise and variance.

Night Waves (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Night Waves (2016) Kaili Aloupis

I was inspired by “Wing” by Jack Colton, “Waldorf Sun” by Garret Hsuan, “Membrane” by Moyna Ghosh, “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Nabila Wirakusumah, “Jellybean Solar System” by Meghan Sever, and “Rainbow Cetology 1” by Wade Wallerstein. Their sketches provided me with insight into the relationship between design and realism that I would like to incorporate into my own sketches as well.

When viewing my work, I hope to express both the world of design and the natural world. I want both to be clearly present in my sketches. When people see it, I want them to think, “Wow, that was made with a computer?” I want it to have all the positive aspects of the digital and natural. It’s also important to me that I represent my artistic aesthetic and positively express that to the viewers. I want to share my style, as varied as it is. I have a lot of ideas I’d really like to see through, but in the end I will be picking the 5 best.

Ocean (2016) Kaili Aloupis

Ocean (2016) Kaili Aloupis

I want my sketches to be looped, so at any instance a viewer could jump in and watch without losing the essence of the sketch. For example, I’d love to create a puddle with rain drops falling onto it and creating ripples within the puddle. Using randomness and perhaps mouse-click interactivity, I’d love for rain drops to appear smoothly one after another, or a few at a time. I love the idea of interactivity, but I don’t know if there is room for it in most of my ideas for this conference project. Animation is of course essential. I want the flow of my sketches to be smooth and tame, much like that of nature, for example water dripping off flower petals or the tide on the beach. Variance and noise will be important throughout my work because I feel that helps represent the realism I’m going for. I’ll also be utilizing my own functions throughout my work so as to make the process easier to change at my leisure.





Because I want my sketches to maintain a certain realism, I’m a bit concerned about the amount of detail put into each sketch. I’m still unsure as to “how much is too much”, so along the way I hope to find that balance. In true GenArt style, I always start with an idea in mind but the end result is far from anything I had ever imagined.

Conference Project Proposal: Don’t Forget to Blink

The idea of optical illusions have fascinated me for a long time. Tricks of the mind when you’re seeing something different than what actually is. Our brains make assumptions to make sense of the information from the eyes, and sometimes it has trouble because the depth or the colors confuse it. There are illusion of depth, illusions of color, and illusions of shape.

Vega-Nor c. 1969, painted by Victor Vasarely

Vega-Nor c. 1969, painted by Victor Vasarely

For my project, I’m taking a very influential optical artist, Victor Vasarely, and recreating and manipulating some of his most interesting pieces. Optical art was a movement in the early 1960’s, and Vasarely stood as the patriarch of that. He had began experimenting with optical illusions in his art in the 1950’s and was featured at the Museum of Modern Art’s show “The Responsive Eye” in 1965 with many other acclaimed optical artists, where he received his first bit of notoriety.


Vasarely and other optical artists like Bridget Riley have been influential in my coding of generative art. I really only stuck to coding in black and white and grayscale because it suits me more; however, after researching the optical art movement and really getting interested in depth in a 2-D image and movement in a static piece, I started experimenting in color in my sketchbook drawings and Processing sketches. conference3

Coded in early October, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Coded in early October, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Coded in early November, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Coded in early November, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Using certain colors gives off the effect of movement, just like in the checkerboard image above.  There is very high contrast between the levels of green and blue with the black and white. All it required was a few loops and a little color experimenting, but it had a very effective result.

My intentions and hopes for this project are to make anyone that sees my images stare, have to look away for a second, and then not help but look back again. Every single blink of the eye causes the image to change, and your brain will never see it the same way again. I hope to convey the simple concepts that come with making these pieces and the complexity of the results. There is not much information complexity at this point, no noise, no animation, the most complex it gets is the color change, but what will happen if I do add some noise? Take an image that looks like it’s moving and really make it defy expectations. I’m already surprising your unconscious brain, how about I throw in a few surprises for the conscious?

Recreating an artist’s work that was originally painted on canvas is no easy task. It requires control of a lot of different variables, and although, the concepts used to recreate some of Vasarely’s work aren’t difficult, they aren’t that straightforward to replicate either. Below, in the code of this piece, I used variables and Apple’s Digital Color Meter to get an appearance of a gradient in color. In other attempts at recreating Vasarely, I used arcs and a lot of loops. Vasarely uses a lot of circles in his pieces, so I’m constantly the ellipse function in ellipse. Overall, I think color is a very important part of Vasarely, and experimenting in color has been a big lesson for me in coding.

Coded in late November, 2016, Kelsey Copley

Coded in late November, 2016, Kelsey Copley

My conference project is not what I expected, but I’m pretty okay with it at this point. I didn’t feel inspired just replicating another artist’s work, but once I thought about it as using Vasarely as inspiration was when I started to sit down and really enjoy figuring out how to code his work. It’s not done yet, but I know my final project will end up exactly what I want it be.

Conference Project Proposal: Replication of works by Fred Tomaselli

Fred Tomaselli

Inspiration from Fred Tomaselli,created by Saloni Patel, 2016screen-0467

My conference proposal this semester focuses on an attempt to replicate the works of Fred Tomaselli in my own ways. This idea came about gradually over the semester as we were working on ellipses.

I found a fascination in drawing ellipses into my code and wondered how I could bring this idea into a conference project. After several conferences with Angela, she helped me discover the brilliant artist, Fred Tomaselli. I found that a lot of my previous works had been somewhat similar to his sketches.

Most of Fred’s works have intricate detail and small shapes and patterns that when looked from afar, creates a beautiful image. I challenged myself to try to use his works as inspiration to create beautiful coding patterns that might reflect my own style into it as well.

I am using the ideas of loops, steps, noise, increments and various colors in my code. These concepts are all inter-dependent to one another, which means that all these concepts have a smaller role to play in the animation process of the code.

Created by Saloni Patel, 2016

Towards the end of this semester, I hope to create five 3-minute movies, that show an attempt towards using Fred Tomaselli’s work as inspiration to my interest in coding ellipses and making movies. I am currently in the process of replicating some more sketches of Fred’s, and covering them into movies.

Created by Saloni Patel, 2016

Created by Saloni Patel, 2016

These movies are made with the hope of appreciating the designs that can be made with just a few lines of code.

Conference Project Proposal: First Impressions



My project focuses on the works of Lothar Quinte, a German painter. One of his well known pieces is found on an album (First Impressions of Earth) by The Strokes, which is also one of my favorite albums. First Impressions is the third album of The Strokes – it’s much angrier and angstier that their other albums. The album serves as a stepping stone from their post punk sound to synthier rhythms. When I was younger the album art reminded me of guitar strings. I chose Quinte’s artwork (and First Impressions of Earth) because of his different variations of the same paintings. Most of Quinte’s paintings are also untitled. Despite this, they all feature bright yellows, reds, blues, and black in one variation or another. I was also inspired to choose art inspired by lines and geometric shapes due to our artist presentations on Vera Molnar and Bridget Riley. Even though their pieces seem simple, their use of lines and shapes is captivating and complex.


I selected five of Quinte’s paintings: Blue Fields, III (1963), Ohne Titel (1965), Untitled (1965), Ohne Titel (1969), and Ohne Titel (1973). Each of them are, in one way or another, variations of each other. When I first perused Quinte’s work I noticed the simplicity of vibrant colors. The pieces did not seem incredibly complex. However, if I looked closely there is more going on in the background – especially in Ohne Titel (1965). On the foreground it is seemingly just a red canvas with two diagonal white and black lines. If you look through the red canvas you can see different lines and circles. When I recreated this work I used alpha to make sure that these lines and circles in the background were still included yet hidden. Even in Blue Fields, III it seems like there are only three blue rectangles – if you look closely there are almost 24 rectangles. At first I thought that I should apply a gradient to adaptation because of the fading color. Again, when I looked closely Quinte is careful in making sure the lighter blue stays in one rectangle and the darker blue stays in another rectangle. Even though most of his work seems simple there is a lot going on in Quinte’s pieces. To quote Philip Galanter’s classroom definition of generative art, Quinte’s work “uses a system…which is set to some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art”. Despite not programming his artwork, Quinte uses a system of preciseness so that if the viewer looks closely they will see how carefully planned each shape is.

The goal of my project is to re-create and animate Quinte’s paintings using what we’ve learned in class. I used variables, loops, noise, and colors. My final project will have five 3 minute films based on Quinte’s artworks. I intend to uphold Quinte’s vibrancy but want to complicate his artwork more. I chose his work not only because of his use of lines and geometric shapes but because his artwork was featured on one of my favorite albums. I feel the same connection that I felt with First Impressions that I do with his work. I am reminded of listening to Julian Casablancas’s disconnected lyrics while waiting for the school bus to take me to a dreary, suburban middle school. This project was somewhat nostalgic and I am excited for the end result.