Tag Archives: self-evolving

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(_)Elements, or: Ron Resch Now Digital (Picking Up: An Early System)

conf.{A}.OLD1.elem.ents.&and.conf.NEW1 Because the application is a system that only exists in relation to a user, a user who ultimately has to click and search through the application for it to reveal itself fully (it is informational, it exists on a server somewhere, but it is only actually “there” when it is read. Kind of like the tree that falls when no one is looking, except this is more about /use/: there is only a point to it if someone uses it) – it has to have an appeal and an elegance and a /flow/. What emerges in our systems class is the idea of systems aesthetics, and I find the perfect application in an actual web application, at precisely this intersection of machinery and observer. For it to work well ultimately, these separate entities must work together, and the actual meeting point is the aesthetically sophisticated system. Where if it does not have sophistication (visual appeal in color and form, elegance and good function), the system is not only not engaging, but won’t be used in the first place. The internet and its web apps and sites are designed more and more to be consumable: something that is not palatable can easily be discarded in favor of something more usable. The internet is competitive and the drive goes towards consumability, in this sense. But anyway, it’s what I wanted to achieve in designing a portfolio of systems: an actually system-inspired application, that more than anything, marches to the drum of system aesthetics. While always being mindful of the too much and kitsch that might go with that. I don’t want to be the person with the crazy power point – all those transitions and effects, so that the thing is just unprofessional in how dynamic and centerstage it is. (You know?) Finally, some concrete examples of what I mean here, in funkelsteine.com: – the tabs in top of the site alert the user to their location in the logical flow of the website – the center piece of the page is a an animated triangular design (svg images loaded by a script) inspired by the work in my analog system right at the beginning of the semester (Ron Resch paper folding ideas). It is based on the scanned version of the actual, physical Resch fold: IMG_0146   Subsequently turns into (screenshotted): Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.03.42 PM – sitting on top of this field of triangles is a pop-up menu that follows the user and collapses depending on their location on the page (css menu manipulated by script). The idea was to have this be very dynamic, and also centered (literally) and prominent, hovering slightly above the rest of the page (drop shadow): the social media icons that will populate this “flower petal” menu are central to the content ideas of the project. The idea is that these things get shared and find their way to lots of users, so that something really /systems/ grows out of it. Apart from these design ideas inspired by systems aesthetics, of course, the whole website, and the actual code that runs it, on a sever, is a system. I also decided to appropriate the thing as a portfolio of my work this semester: I am also showcasing the Garden of Life (processing piece running on Conway’s Game of Life logic), and last semesters work in Unity, on ADAM, on this website!

System Aesthetics: An Early System RandomCityTour

Rules of the RandomCityTour system:
  1. Make a cube and label each of the six faces accordingly: RIGHT, LEFT, STRAIGHT, BACK, LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN
  2. Pick a corner or an intersection of streets in a city, this will be your starting point.
  3. Roll the cube on the pavement and note the face that ends up on top. Follow instructions: RIGHT- turn right and walk, LEFT – turn left and walk, STRAIGHT – continue walking straight, BACK- turn back and walk in the opposite direction, LOOK UP – look up for 15 seconds and roll the cube again, LOOK DOWN – look down for 15 seconds and roll the cube again
  4. Keep walking to the next corner and roll the cube.
  5. The performance continues until you hit your starting position.
  6. Repeat as necessary.
    IMG_4034 map of the approximately 40 minute performance starting near Grand Central Terminal in New York City Walking with no purpose allowed me to experience the city in a unique manner. I suddenly felt hypersensitive to all the stimuli of the urban life, bodies, voices, street sounds, smell, light, volumetry of the buildings, irregularities of the sidewalk. In my mind I became an invisible observer, sinking into the lives of people I passed and into the brief moments/encounters we shared. Rolling the cube that decided the direction of my walk accentuated the chance we are led by every day. The lives and the moments we live are a sequence of statistically improbable events. Out of infinite possibilities of reality, our current condition has the probability of . We live in a limit as the moment approaches infinity. The inspiration for this performance came from my ongoing research of psychogeography and especially the concept of the flaneur as described by Walter Benjamin and the concept of the derive as stated by Guy Debord and the Situationists. The path to developing that system was sudden and the impulsive. Some of the challenges that I encountered during the performance was the physicality of the cube and it’s lightness. Sometimes the cube would roll over and it was hard to note it’s initial face. Moreover, as discussed in class the system is not self-evolving enough. Perhaps further investigation on the decision-making of the cube or introducing computer generated decisions that react to the environment or build on previous outcomes would better satisfy the requirement for this system.   Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.16.12 PM Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.16.37 PM photos of the cube used during the performance Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.16.57 PM   link to the excerpts from the performance :  

Systems Aesthetics: An Early System

system2 The second system I created for the class is a “game” system called Number Swap. The game was created specifically for the class and the amount of people we have, but can be altered to fit any number of players. The game is played where each person is given a number 0-9, and the group walks around exchanging papers with one another for a set period of time. At the end, the group compares numbers. There are a few rules and variables that alter the course of the game: system2-2The first rule is set in place to ensure a lack of repeats in the numbers received. It could be easy for two people to just continually swap numbers the entire game and it defeats the purpose of the system. The second rule is important because it encourages people to stray from intention and just act. There are countless of variables that could be added to each game. The example variables are the basics and decided upon at the beginning of the game. Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 6.51.46 PMThere are also several goals one can work towards to make the game more interesting. Not all the goals listed are necessarily fair, but they’re interesting nonetheless. This system is simple, but can gain complexity depending on what rules and variables are set in place. The players are constantly moving and changing numbers, free of restraint. The end results are based on the randomness within the game. Decisions are made based on each player, but not every player makes decisions the same way. For instance, a person could simply be looking to swap with the person closest to them, while another could be drifting towards the farthest person. Though there are decisions in place before the game starts, for instance: at what speed is the group moving, each player interprets those decisions differently. What is defined as fast? Slow? This system was inspired by a game I used to play when I was younger where a group of people would walk around shaking hands. Before the game starts, a “murderer” is established (by an outside party), but nobody knows except for the murderer themselves. The murderer would shake hands with someone and “kill” them by scratching the inside of the other person’s hand with a finger. That person would then die, but only after shaking one other person’s hand. That way, the players see that person “die” but are unsure as to who killed them. It was a silly game, but it gave me the idea of the scrambling group encounters. IMG_9110 I was still a bit unsure of the exact definition of a system, but I knew this game could fall under that category in that it is restricted, active, and follows the “simple rules lead to complex phenomena” characteristic. After playing in class, other ideas were brought up that could make the system self-evolving such as “each player establishes their own rule they follow themselves, but nobody else knows” kind of thing. Or “swap numbers and if the number you receive is even, continue in that direction, and if it’s odd, change directions.” That way the system can keep building and changing itself, leading to even more interesting results.    

Systems Aesthetics: An Early System

IMG_9315 As our readings have progressed as has the class’ understanding of systems, and what attributes they need in order to be classified as a ‘System’. My first system had the characteristics of an extremely simple system however was missing extra attributes to fall into what the class classifies a system now. My first system was a system based on colours and paper, created after we watched Ron Resch’s paper and stick film. Using different coloured dyes I dipped different types of paper into these in which many different colour patters would occur .IMG_8462 copy Presenting this system in class I understood that my system was static and needed to go a step further in order to become a fully functioning system. After creating this system and understanding the reaction from the class, I decided to create another analogue system for system 2 in which I would be similarly playing with the ideas of chance. The idea of chance was fundamental to many Dada artists in which they created many (what we would call now) systems based on the logics of chance. After speaking about Marcel Duchamp and other revolutionary Dadaist’s in class and experimenting with creating an analogue system from the things that we found in our pockets, I decided to take this idea further. Jean-Arp.-Collage-with-Squares-279x395 Based on the chance paintings of Jean Arp, in which he aimed to remove the hand of the artist, he would let square pieces of paper fall onto a larger piece and then stick these on, image above. I decided to replicate this system with items from peoples pockets. After these items would be dropped onto the paper I would then, or the person who dropped them, trace around the objects, creating interesting shapes on the paper, all based on the laws of chance. As the system evolved it became interesting to analyse the shapes they made once the things that had been dropped were removed. There were two different aspects of chance in play with this system as the first was how the objects dropped onto the paper and the second being I did not know when walking into a space who was going to be there, so therefore unaware of who was going to be participating in the system. I enjoyed working with this system and also the aesthetics of what was left on the paper after the objects were removed, however this system could not function without my input or another persons, we were the instigators and it couldn’t continue without continuous  human intervention. IMG_9317   IMG_9312 Therefore my system was not self-evolving, a characteristic of systems which I have been struggling putting into action throughout the course of the semester. I understand this aspect however how to put this into action has been difficult so that is something I really need to focus on to achieve in both System 3 and my conference project. I think looking at the artist Hans Haacke will really help in order to achieve this as I think I will be sticking to analogue systems. The simplicity yet power of his systems and artworks is something I would really like to replicate whether that means playing with water or wind and also playing with the ideas of chance as I did with Systems 1 and 2. IMG_9314     IMG_9316