Tag Archives: system

System: The Eisenberg

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Final form of the system while the background is gray

I knew going into this project that I wanted to try and create a map of a social network, based on Nicholas Christakis’ Ted Talk entitled “The hidden influence of social networks.” I decided to have a set 12 circles representing people for my map and to show the connections between people I would have them be different colors and then the circles of the same color would be connected. After some consideration of using a RGB color wheel, I decided to use a traditional red-yellow-blue color wheel for my colors because it seemed more natural, and I thought a user would be able to see what was happening with the colors more easily.
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System with plain gray background and no lines connecting the people

The most difficult part of this project was to get the pressing of the “a” and “s” keys to complicate and simplify the system. I had to figure out how to get the colors to change at the press of the key while simultaneously having the previous circle not show up and the lines continue to change. I had difficulty having the circles change color randomly while also having the draw and undraw line functions work correctly in conjunction with the button press.
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System in its initial state with the connections of the lines

To simplify and complicate are the main two rules of the system, and they are also the ones that the user can interact with. The other rule is to connect, which is done through the lines that connect the people of the same colors in the system. This part of writing my system was easier than I anticipated because I formed a loop that would find the color of each circle and draw a line to all other circles of the same color. The removal of the lines with each complication and change of the system was slightly more complicated but I set the lines so that they were a much higher stroke weight and were the color of the background when performing the undraw function.
Error screen of the system

Error screen of the system

I based the decision of what colors to make the backgrounds based on the reading I did by Josef Albers about the relation of colors to each other. When colors are placed on top of one another they react in such a way where sometimes one color can take away from the other, making the other color look different than it should based on the actual color value. I chose to make the “error” screen the same red of the red from my list of colors. I refer to this as the “error” screen because when the system has that color for the background the system cannot be simplified anymore. All of the circles on the error screen are also red, directly showing that the group of people cannot be simplified any more because they are all represented by the same color. With the white pattern on top of the background color, I wanted to see how the colors of the people interacted with the color of the background when the white pattern was in between. For the “error” screen, the red circles seem to look darker than the background, and I think that the circles in contrast with the white lines cause this effect.
The system when the colors have reached their most complicated and the background is yellow

The system when the colors have reached their most complicated and the background is yellow

I had a similar thought process for choosing the yellow for the other background. I would normally never use the color yellow that I picked because it’s too bright for the type of color palette I prefer. I chose this because I thought it would perhaps make the somewhat more subdued colors of the people look even more soft and also perhaps darker. This worked out somewhat, although the colors with yellow tints became somewhat more difficult to see or tell the difference between. I think also the background yellow looks more green-tinted in relation with the colors of the people.                                                               Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 12.38.25 PM Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 12.38.40 PM
The final version of the system with the circles slightly different sizes based on their color, changing through the different iterations and changes of the system

The final version of the system with the circles slightly different sizes based on their color, changing through the different iterations and changes of the system

I really enjoyed doing this project because this idea of the human social network is one that I think about often and have thought about since I first watched this Ted Talk two years ago. I am really intrigued by the idea of the idea of being influenced by people who are far away from me in terms of social connections, plus I really like seeing human relationships mapped out. Independent of this project I have considered drawing the relationships in my house as a map multiple times this semester. Making this piece has really been wonderful and I really enjoyed seeing this concept I’ve thought so much about come to life. I’m planning on researching force directed graphs so that I can possibly continue to make other pieces like this that are more complicated in the future.  

System: Polygons and Colors

 
Final

Final – a series of separately colored polygons rotating as two flow across the screen in the front. Name: Polygons and Colors.

For this project, I did something very new—maybe not at this point because it feels like I have been repeating that statement a lot in this course… but at the time it still felt new! I began working on the polygon starter file with no real linear ideas attached to it. The most stable ideas I had included two goals: make something that could resemble deep space, and experiment with color. I also wanted to work with the snowflake sketch.js, but I left that out because I thought the piece was going in another direction and I could not find a way to fit in that felt right.

Starter Colors

Starter Colors

Starter Colors

Starter Colors

Before starting with the code, I found the starter colors. I call them starter colors because I did not end up using any of them and knew very well that I would not toward the end. A majority of the code works around what colored polygons I wanted to emphasize over the others. In a sense, I tricked myself into thinking I had found my colors and worked from there. The colors I used were very similar to the abstract clock assignment’s colors in their saturation, which, looking at them both now, is surprising. Over this semester, coding has helped me play with color theory. Just like with coding as I explored it, I learned it. But before then I did not like bright and saturated colors. They can easily over-stimulate me due to my sensory integration disorder. But in my system piece, I think I found brightness levels I am comfortable with.  
Grid and Lines and Polygons 3

Grid and Lines and Polygons 3

Grid and Lines and Polygons 2

Grid and Lines and Polygons 2

Grid and Polygon and Lines

Grid and Polygon and Lines

Lines and Polygons

Lines and Polygons

When I started out, I played with semi-randomized lines in the front to add more of the dimension that I originally sought. I also played with a turquoise grid and kept the polygons small. But it was so separate that I felt it was missing the point of the assignment and thought I had coded myself into a corner. As I worked with them, the lines, grid, and circles grew apart into their singular characterizations. The randomized lines in the front never connected to the polygons in the back or added enough depth and, to my frustration, became more out of place after each session and seemed to be the only ones that were evolving. The code itself was also set up as very separate, and toward the end of the project, I felt I had coded and colored myself into a corner. How would I get them to work together as a functioning system?
Une retrospective

Une retrospective

At first, staring at Molnar’s Une retrospective for inspiration felt counter-productive. It was still separate! Looking at it now, I know that the more I worked, the more the colors began to expand and almost blend until it arrived at the final result. And I know now that Molnar’s painting isn’t actually that divided. Or, one doesn’t have to look at it that way. In each work, she uses the implication of movement. From Lettres da ma mere (Letters from my Mother) to the one I showed above her lines and shapes always suggest that a change is occurring. I already had the polygons spinning and wanted to keep that but then I began experimenting with making them move in another way as well. The spinning along felt monotonous. Adding a loop, I made two of the cut-off and off-center polygons rotate across the screen in a recurring wrap to make it a little less expected and languid. I also changed the direction of some of the polygons, the opacity and, of course, the size. I think the turning point was when I got rid of the lines. Once I did the subtle changes were highlighted more and made room for adding smaller and less translucent polygons in the back. To conclude, I think I accomplished a lot with this piece. The process felt natural and I think the spinning sequences and imperfect interactions help to make it more entertaining to a curious audience. The colors are vibrant (for me) but do not overpower it (or myself). And the movement remained odd yet weirdly calming.   Thank you for the opportunity. Izzy Singer

System: Germination

In one of my other classes this semester, I am working on an experiment involving seed germination. In this project, we took fungi found on Andropogon seeds and reintroduced that fungi to a different set of Andropogon seeds. The intention was to then measure the germination rate of these seeds in comparison to a control in an attempt to see if the mystery fungi were pathogenic. However, nothing in this process went correctly.
Every single one of the petri dishes we were experimenting on became contaminated, including the controls. While this had negative effects for our experiment as a whole, it did end up looking extremely interesting. Our experiment became largely more complicated than expected in terms of usable data, but much more interesting as a person interested in fungal and bacterial growth.
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My original plan for this system was to try and replicate the original experiment, including the ten Andropogon seeds and the mystery fungus. I spent perhaps too long trying to set up an easy and clean system for setting up the seeds. However, I decided it got too visually complicated. I realized it would become very easily unclear exactly which seeds had germinated and which had not. So I instead opted to go for a single large seed in the center of the dish. This would make understanding the system more feasible. While making this choice made some visual issues easier, it did set me back quite a bit and made much of the work I had done useless.
wip_petri0
Once the seeds had been taken care of, I then started work on the actual contaminants themselves.
First I wanted to go with the black dots that covered the plates and surrounded the seeds.
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Then, I wanted to replicate the odd beige rings that were found around many of the seeds. The second photo is not the most successful at actually capturing how they looked, but I was looking to replicate a series of being rings that surrounded the seeds individually, in nearly the same shape as the seed itself, only larger. Finally, I wanted to find a way to recreate the look of the hyphae, a network of fungus that took root in the material we used to grow the seeds.
Right now, this is how my system looks. It is still a work in progress, held back slightly by the time spent on the initial, unused idea.
wip_petri0 (2)
From here, I need to instate the system by which the seed germinates or not. I also hope to add another contaminant in, one based on the black spheres that grew in the plates shown below. I also hope to add more detail to the seed itself.
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System: RosieRose

RosieRose

RosieRose

When I first set out to code a system, I was lacking in inspiration. I knew I wanted to create something that I could have an emotional connection with, but I was uncertain that I would be able to code a system with a narrative. As I considered the possibilities, I begin playing around with Angela’s afc_25_system_01_05. I found the simplicity of the system approachable. I appreciated the ellipses and the subtle movements of the particles. As I became familiar with the code, I found myself considering systems in relation to the Internet. I considered Wi-Fi in general, and then I considered my own Wi-Fi, “RosieRose”. It became clear to me then, I would create a visual representation of a Wi-Fi I have carried with me from one apartment to the next.
Inspiration

Inspiration 01

My Wi-Fi, “RosieRose”, is named after my recently deceased, beloved family dog, Rosie.  My Wi-Fi, and Rosie Rose herself, inspired my system of the same name. Rosie passed away one year ago, but I like to think she lives on through the waves of my Wi-Fi. I connect with her on a daily basis, I share her with others. My RosieRose Wi-Fi is a space I have carved out for the dog I loved, so she could live on through the waves of the internet. I have created a visual representation of this space through my system. As I began to code my system, I knew I wanted to utilize a similar color scheme to the ones that I had been implementing in my pieces throughout the course of the semester. I like to experiment with different shades of pink to create a visually appealing atmosphere.  I utilized three different shades of pale to rouge pink in my system, in the effort to evoke the detail of a pink rose. After determining my color scheme, I did some research to figure out how to portray a rose through simple shapes. I decided on a circular pattern of overlapping ellipses.  I was satisfied with the design, as it would allow for further experimentation with color by utilizing different degrees of transparency.
Inspiration 02

Inspiration 02

Initial Color Scheme

Initial Color Scheme and layout

  As I continued with my code, Angela suggested a wrap function would be more effective than the bounce function I had been utilizing initially. Switching from the bounce function to the wrap function allowed for my representation of falling petals to come across more effectively to the viewer. Out of all of the elements in my system, I am most pleased with the visual of the falling petals. I carefully set their speed and position to encourage a sense of density in the space. I wanted the smaller petals to fall slowly, the bigger falling faster, to give the viewer a better understanding of the environment and the delicate nature of the rose.   Throughout my experience of coding this system I experimented with utilizing visuals and text to communicate the narrative to the viewer. I considered using Rosie’s face as the center of the rose, utilizing photoshop to create a useable outline. I also considered inserting the Wi-Fi’s name into the system, but I found both of these approaches would be too obvious.
Images and Text

Images and Text

After some experimentation, I decided to incorporate Rosie’s image into just one of the falling petals.   I placed Rosie’s face inside the smallest petal to create a delicate visual, evoking the meaning of the piece. As the last petal to fall out off screen, I found this emphasized the emotion I was trying to convey.   I continue to struggle with making the code interactive. I have been trying to achieve incorporating the KeyPressed function into the system so the viewer can interact with the code, encouraging the space to be more spontaneous. I have not yet been able to successfully incorporate the KeyPressed function; I hope to get some input from my peers so that I may include this function in my final product.   Overall, I am very happy with this piece.  I am most satisfied with the color scheme and the movement.  I was initially uncertain if I would be able to capture the emotion I feel towards this intangible environment through coding, but I feel like I have accomplished just that.  My hopes for the final product would be to take it a step further with the KeyPressed function, but if I were not able to implement that function into my code, I would still be very happy with what I have created. I found the experience of coding this system, in honor of Rosie, to be very emotional, as I was finally able to create a visual representation of the space I had initially created to keep her with me.  RosieRose is a piece I thoroughly enjoyed creating and am very happy to have had the chance to do so.
RosieRose

RosieRose

   

Little Big Lines

Learning to code this semester has been one hell of a journey. I’m not that proud to say I’ve cried about coding, but I have. There are witnesses. But it has been a worthy experience, and an important one. 
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My first lines

  I have trouble with depth perception. Which is kind of funny because I’m a softball player, but a problem nonetheless. My mom says it’s because she let me play computer games before my brain was finished developing that section. Needless to say, this has affected what I thought I could do in terms of art. I see things and I think I can paint that and then I put paint to canvas and his nose is between his eyebrows. But in growing and developing my art, I eventually learned that I can adjust to my depth perception issue by looking at lines. I started thinking about how subjects are made up of a configuration of lines.   All that being said, I was drawn to the snowflake starter code because the shapes based in clear straight lines that make sense in the part of my brain. I always wanted to draw animals, but I had a lot of trouble with their natural shapes. When looking for tattoo ideas I came across these images of animals created from triangles. I love the interpretation because it looks natural and geometric at the same time.  
mondrian_piet_4

My fave Mondrian

This is much of why I liked Mondrian. He uses lines to create these interesting and engaging pieces and I wanted to do something in that vein. Though mine is much more chaotic than most of his. Coding this was easy because I learned early on that I like working with triangles in a system. Their shape is so dynamic to me and they have such a practicality in them. So I decided to code this elephant triangle by triangle in code. And I decided I wanted to tie it into my system. I thought the movement that came with the manipulations I made to the original code gave the system a unique and exciting texture. It gives the piece movement which it should have. I found the elephant tedious to code mostly. It was a lot of copy and pasting points and connecting the dots, but also making sure to keep track of which points are where, how long each line, what angle?
Progress!

Progress!

I never thought I was going to code a system. I know I didn’t do it myself but even just fixing it and make it do what I want it to do was kind of surprising, at least when I thought about it a few weeks ago. I’m still working on the movement of the lines, but I like the kind of static-ness that makes it more like a background. The elephant was a natural decision for me. My grandmother collects elephants and she passed on her adoration of the creature to me. I am enamored with their grace, their intelligence, and their might. But they’re also proven to be afraid of mice. I think maybe for me coding was the mouse. I had no reason to be afraid of it, I’m kinda smart, and figuring out how to work a code wasn’t going to hurt me but it terrified me. The prospect of coding a system made me want to quit before I even started. But I’ve made it work for me and I’m proud of what it’s going to be.
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A little chaos never hurt nobody!

System: Four Parameters

Current Realized version of "Four Parameters"

Current Realized version of “Four Parameters”

My conference ecosystem, Four Parameters, is inspired by Frieder Nake’s Matrix Multiplication, a series of mathematical solutions represented as computer art. My conference originally began with thinking about evolutionary art as I attempted to replicate the movements of ants in an art farm, but I found myself more and more compelled to follow in the footsteps of Nake and other artists who take mathematics and analytical data and find ways to transform this information into visual art. What strikes me about Nake’s work is his use of color, his ability to collage rudimentary shapes into a greater mosaic artwork, and his ability to create patterns in a digital space that appear almost woven or as if they were created from a textile. For my conference, I tried to create an ecosystem that, after being refreshed, or after input from the user, would change color and dynamism while still maintaining a sense of evolutionary similarity with the artwork prior.

Frieder Nake "Untitled"

Frieder Nake “Untitled”

Four Parameters replication of Nake "Untitled"

Four Parameters replication of Nake “Untitled”

Nake’s work is deceivingly complex; I know this firsthand after trying to code my own Matrix. Nake’s work cares a great deal about space and composition, and so I had to reflect on those aspects as well. What I struggled with the most in my conference was manipulating the canvas and figuring out exactly where my shapes would be drawn. In my sketchpad I had an infinite amount of room to plan and layout my design, but once I started coding loops that would draw multiple shapes, the interactions of their x and y coordinates became hard to locate. That was also part of the fun, because sometimes my errors would lead me to very interesting mistakes.

Errors can certainly be a roadblock, but other times my errors provided me an insight and a deeper, more profound understanding of the artist’ design, and helped to propel me forward down a new path of inspiration. Still just a beginner to art and coding, I had some assumptions about how the code prioritizes the overlapping of calls to draw shapes and translate without the use of push and pop to separate design elements in an object. I had to reconsider the placement of objects and the very order and outline of my code itself. I saw quickly that the more organized my code was, I was able to maintain and keep sigh of my goals in the distance. When my code became longer and more syntactically complex I found myself overwhelmed by the code I had just sat down and written. I had to be extra thorough when re-reading and trying to find errors in my code that would break my art.

Error leads to interesting patterns and inspiration

Error leads to interesting patterns and inspiration

Additionally, while working on conference I came to understand that there were multiple ways and approaches to reach my desired goal. I often had moments where I recognized the opportunity to just hard code a parameter, or make changing a variable accessible by input in the function parameters (for ex: function(x_asis,y_axis)). There were many ways I could go about my code, and finding the most effiecient solution wasn’t always apparent on the surface. I certainly gained a better respect for Nake as a pioneer of computer art at the intersection of mathematics. It was illuminating to work in his footsteps, and to consider that every process in art is intentional and mathematically understandable, and vice versa there are moments of artistic beauty in math as well.

Changes in the ecosystem

Changes in the ecosystem

My first several iterations I just worked with turning the basic shapes in objects that would be able to experience other forms of transformation (rotation, translation, change in scale). Even in the overlapping and multilayered chaos of Nake’s works, his choice of shape and specifically the color palette he chooses also the viewer to still distinguish and recognize individual shapes. Lines couldn’t be drawn on one another completely blocking out the lines below; I had to really pay attention to the opacity, saturation, and depth of field I was creating with my shapes, even if I assigned some parameters to move randomly within a given boundary.

Next came rotations and finding ways to slightly alter my ecosystem every time the user refreshes. One of the other reasons I really like working with an evolutionary system in the vain of Nake’s work is the very subtle white and gray backgrounds he frames his works on top of. While someone else may say that Nake’s backgrounds don’t lend much to his artwork, I would disagree and say that all of Nake’s colors and even the materials he prints on adds to the collective composition. I love thinking about the modernity of Frieder’s cubic design and palette at a time of few graphic designers or artists, but how his design already prefigures and predated the waves of graphic design that will follow after him.

Next, I changed the color scheme from the original blue, yellow, and red to rotating between several different pallets on refresh. When creating this evolutionary system and thinking about Nake’s work, I always wonder how a change in color can completely transform a work’s tone and atmosphere. Nake’s Matrix Multiplication and many of his other untitled works have a very deliberate color composition, and I wanted to follow is his footsteps.

Slightly changing rotation to achieve a new template

Slightly changing rotation to achieve a new template

Again, I struggled the most with translating and moving around the canvas, but my inspiration still burns and I have several more things to add! With additional time, I hope too the ability to take in user commands with the mouseX and mouseY values to rotate individual squares on their axes. I also want to elaborate my pattern more and on refresh and new pattern should be generated. With certain keystrokes or presses the user should also be able to change the size of some of the squares on the canvas.

Overall I think my ecosystem needs some tuning up and optimization, but I am very enthusiastic with more attention I can make a very interesting ecosystem like Nake’s work that explores gradualism, pattern, collage, and color in a mathmatic vein.

System: Molnar Lines

For my conference project, I am further exploring the works of Vera Molnar. She was a pioneer in computer based artwork, having first started by using a plotter. A lot of her works represent or came out of gradualism – modifying the form of something known in very slow ways until it turns into something very unknown, and interesting. I was hooked by her works in which Vera helps a viewer imagine what a plausibly different shape could be. I also appreciated how Vera abstracts away from known legible features in our world (such as handwriting) and studies it with rigor in order to extract the most visually fundamental qualities to handwriting. This is well represented in her 1987 work, Lettres de Ma Mere:
Lettres de ma Merre (1987)

Lettres de ma Merre (1987)

The piece of hers that has been my greatest inspiration in my conference work is Interruptions (1968):
Interruptions (1968)

Interruptions (1968)

It was easy to get a straight forward replication of Molnar’s work, disregarding the empty patches in her composition. It looked something like:
an early verison of Interruptions, with some color.

an early version of Interruptions, with some color. an even earlier draft was monochrome: a simple off-white/grey background and black lines

The lines in the given picture are actually all rotating. After meeting with Angela for conference in which we talked about an earlier version of my conference work, I learned that Vera Molnar’s style of work involves thinking of a simple rule and formalizing it. Angela made some simple suggestions that should theoretically have some powerful effects for the system. Thus came my first ‘formalized’ rule: adding random length to lines if they were shorter than a certain length: adding length to certain lines The next few rules I added modified the rotation of the lines and also the color of the lines. It took me a while to figure out how to randomly assign color to each of the lines independently. While doing this, I certainly learned about the weird quirks of Processing as a library. Even though it intuitively makes sense to color a shape when you create it, you actually have to tell Processing what color to use for this shape every frame. Processing is kind of like an artist who only holds one pen, but draws very very quickly, so it needs to swap pens to draw each line, each time it draws that line. So to fix this, you instead tell the shape to remember what color it should be, and have it set the stroke() color (tell Processing what color pen to pick up) on each iteration of .display(). For the first several implementations of my sketch with the introduction of the new rules, I had coded something so that the color for all the lines was randomly assigned. It took me a while to figure out that I had to tell Processing to change colors in the .display() function of the Line object. Finally I had something that looked like this:
randomly colored individual lines

randomly colored individual lines

After learning this, I think color really went right in my system. I was able to then modify the color with more control. This also addressed one of Angela’s criticism about my rules when she saw my work in open-studio: my rules were looking too random. The point of gradualism is for the viewers to get some intuitive sense that a systematic rule is at place. I was finally starting to get systems that look more like:
more controlled color

more controlled color

The way color is implemented is very special – it isn’t actually hard-coded into the system. Actually, the system decides for itself what colors to use for its lines (actually each line decides for itself, creating a complex system out of simple individual decisions) , and this part of the program is recursive. A line modifies its color based on the colors in the lines surrounding it. (Specifically, based on the color of the line previous to it in the array.) Before I talk about what went ‘easy’ or ‘right’ and what went ‘difficultly’ or ‘wrong,’ I want to comment on how there isn’t always a relationship between how easy or hard something is to conceive of, imagine, and see in your head, and how easy or hard it is to code.  Some things that sounded or looked simple in the conceptualizing stages were complicated to implement in code, and it also turned out to be simple to implement some seemingly complex concepts / behaviors. For example, It was very easy to populate an array with lines. It was also easy to create a line object. Probably one of my favorite things talked about in a discussion with conference with Angela was about the point or goal of our class, which is to enable students to see visual work and feel encouraged and confident to be able to replicate it in code, or to execute one of their own imagined ideas. For starters: I was not able to get as much visible interactivity in my system as I had hoped. In some ways, it still looks random. And in other ways, it does not look random enough. Some of this has to do with how many exact rules are turned on at a given time. Being able to set a randomSeed and to toggle the frameRate of my system have been very helpful, because it has allowed me to see what would happen to my system over time in more controlled settings. Even with all the rules turned on at once, it is easy to see with accelerated frameRate that my system seems to fall back into a mostly regular loop. That does not mean that it is not mesmerizing to look at – it definitely is, especially when you realize it is a simple system of only Line objects. Angela suggested writing my system with a randomSeed in place. This also turned out to be a lot easier than I expected or was familiar with from my previous coding experiences. For randomSeed, I had to learn that a random number generator essentially is “only random on the outside”: inside, it deterministically creates numbers based on the given seed. So the specific sequence of numbers that it will return from the seed ’99’ is always the exact same sequence, regardless of how many times we run it. That’s why it’s called the ‘seed': ALL of the randomness grows out of just that initial seed, like how an entire tree grows out of a seed. I will definitely continue to work on my sketch, specifically in trying to make interaction and gradualism more apparent.

Conference Project & Post-Mortem: SONOSPECTRUM

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 6.56.57 PM Proposal: After hearing Steve Reich’s experiments in sound through 12 Instruments and reinterpretations by Philip Glass in the hours and O Superman by Laurre Anderson, I was fascinated by generative music, and looked towards the Beads library in processing. Intended to follow Evan Merz’ instructions on the library in his book Sonifying Processing but later extrapolate on those lessons with visual additions as well as additions of my own code. Post-Mortem: The Beads processing library was complex, but set an easy groundwork with Glide and Gain that was used throughout all versions of sound generation. My most simple artwork of the many I experimented with was Warlock Groove, which used different parameters to turn an audio files into a wave,  and those variables would be randomized at the start of each run of the sketch. My next experiment was with TalkBack which uses the computers microphone to read the hertz of sound coming in and creates a playback. My next set of experiments with the Beads library used visuals that also determined the audio being played. For Roundabout and MusicBox I had four shapes bounce around the screen, and their x and y positions would determine which minute parts, or grains, of the sound file were pulled from creating a randomized sound. pic-0945 pic-1801 My next experiment in sound generation pulled off a sketch I created called Heart which used vertex drawing to make what looked like a polyhedron. I used several Beads codes to attach frequency creation to each of the points of the polyhedron, and found an interesting but not “full” noise. So I used my inspiration from Reich and played a second iteration of the sketch creating a discordant sound that fit the shape and movement of the “hearts, which became called Heartbeat and Heartbreak. pic-1948 pic-2318 Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 6.58.15 PM Finally I worked with a synth generator that used a clock to play random synth matchups and edits, which I then paired with the visual of expanding circles which I entitled GrapeSoda. pic-1697As a whole I was pleased with the experiments, especially Heartbeat and Heartbreak. Ideally as a next step I would want to experiment with the installation of these pieces of how placement could add to the interpretation of the noise. -note: sound will be added to this piece as soon as I figure out how to  

Blackspace: A Lot of Noise in a Crowded Space

IMG_6020 For my Blackspace I created a room full of water bottles, which I thought would be interesting to navigate in the dark but never expected would be a musical and noise generation experience. The original aim was to place water bottles in a manner in an enclosed space, where people would then have trouble navigating in the dark. The first run through with our class I found that the bottles made interesting noises as they crashed, and those noises in turn attracted people to kick and move the bottles around in a louder fashion. Later run throughs had people almost immediately try to make noise and move around in the dark space. IMG_6019IMG_6022What was enthralling was after the set-up I could use the moving wall to enclose people, and besides encouraging more careful groups they system could exist and expand on its own. Presentation of the piece also became important as I tried to have it in our showing, removing labels of the bottles as well as integrating the wall as an area setter to begin the piece. What was wonderful was being able to just have a start and not worry about an end.  

System 3: Infinitesimal

pic-6013 For my final system I built off of our cellular automata code, replacing the squares with text. I also put a transparent black background so new iterations would only compile over old as opposed to completely replacing. Pictured above is the code after around a minute. The way it works is all the boxes that would typically be white or the color of the background are now grey and opaque, while the shaded in boxes determined by one of the simple rules of cellular automata randomly choose colors from a set and words from an array. These arrays are created from passages from the book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, which tells a surreal narrative about an African-American man and how his race renders him invisible throughout various events. This book is perhaps one of my favorites, but my selection of the book came with the images and colors it evoked. Firstly the main part of this automata and the system integrated is the balance of the words as unimportant and relevant. The piece I believe can stand simple as a visual without the words being read, representing a feeling of invisibility. Whereas some words and phrases can easily be read due to the way I align the text and have colors shift, reflecting the strong moral and identity questions that the novel brings up. But before I discuss that use of the novel, I must discuss the components of the system that differentiate it from a simple cellular automata. First, text of varying lengths falls in less of an organized pattern than the squares usually used in cellular automata. I also edited some of the rulesets of the cellular automata so I would have less proliferations that covered the whole screen, allowing for most run-throughs of this sketch to start as below, with one word coming to the forefront in red. And slowly the words would cover the whole screen. In the third image below the cellular automata shifts one row down, which allows for the text to not infinitely cover itself. pic-0132 pic-0323 pic-0484 After around a thousand frames, the color shifts from red to either green or purple/pink, and changes the array to another passage. I have selected three passages that have meaning to me and to the book and split them up into three arrays. Below is the progressing of the system as it shifts arrays and colors. pic-1356 pic-4167 pic-9407 pic-19741 One of the main differences of this system from my previous two is that it can evolve continuously as it exists. After being run from 30+ minutes the below two frames resulted. pic-201689 pic-211231  

Systems Aesthetics: System 2 Branch Unfolding

System 2-4 Moving on system 1, which attempted to recreate the systematic approach that Ron Resch used on paper crumpling, I changed the trajectory of my attempts at manual systems with a digital tool I was very familiar with: Adobe Illustrator. My thought was that Resch was able to create such a complex system from simple rules because he had spent weeks in a way studying the paper through interaction, and I guessed that my knowledge of Illustrator would give me a similar understanding. I began with the CMYK color settings of lines, creating a two more lines at the end of each end of a single line. The more left line would have a small decrease in magenta, while the right would have a decrease in yellow, resulting in the image below. System 2-2   The splitting of lines would end when the magenta or yellow value reached zero. Again I lost the feeling and nature of a system due to my own manual input. I quite like the result of this system attempt, but acknowledge that it is not a true system. As there is no room for evolution and self-sustained change.

Systems Aesthetics: System 1

92e2d1df57e74a5b9281aa34bbed29a4 After Ron Resch’s Paper and Stick experiments and systems, I attempted to investigate his method and define his system in simple steps that could be recreated: My notes of all his processes were: He aims to solely crumple the paper and do no other motions: Only allowed to crumple > diagrams the essential folds > lines becomes straight, triangles or equilateral triangles > triangles become the central idea to the folds > later squares and hexagons > lines in the folds can be turned into essential shapes >>> shoot light at solids > turn the folds into rounded shapes > turn paper models into sticks > hook together with gelatin > shaded shadows create patterns >>> platonic solids can be connected in joints to other shapes > now shapes can transform by shifting along connections >>> squares connected together move predictably > attempts at 3D movement of up and down > sticks in an octahedron together form a dome >>> buildings and applications My simplification of steps became (with the help of some class suggestions):
  1. Use paper
  2. Fold paper
  3. Restrict freedom (only crumple)
  4. Follow/diagram “essential” folds
  5. Simplify to essentials for shape-making
  6. Some ideas control, some follow
  7. 2 different things work together
  8. change material, keep process
  9. Find pattern, change pattern order
  10. higher iterations/quantities
  11. join multiple created systems
The simplest way for me to next interpret this system would be to try and recreate some of it, at least what I considered the bare beginning of it with the paper folding. d334e3835709441aaac6c15d7905f37a 587523442a6849d091fb04de930d929e I found that even small iterations of following Resch’s process were tedious and hard to remain focuses and as systematic. I ended up following a slanted folding pattern, but soon found myself trying to move forward and expand in several different ways.f6e2abc0b9514e61816f7765ce6e61b2 2425d7ed4113426dbbe9acffc6859dc2 The crumpling of paper evoked a certain destruction, so I leaned towards trying to rip the page instead of crumple. I found interesting patterns but found it hard to discern a pattern. I next tried to use an object, a ball in this case, to do the crumpling and folding. Again, my results were not as concise as I would have liked, so I attempted to contain them.f1f332a8020347ab9760d8550701c312 e3a02a90fc624ccc94c3d1e5253e29ba I instead tried to limit the space the paper existed in, and found it an interesting extrapolation, but not a good reflection of Resch’s exact process. These experiments illustrated early on how complex the creation of the rules of system could be and how detailed it truly was to make the decision to just simply crumple paper.  
IMG_0146

(_)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 :  

An Early System: lttle match grl

IMG_2889 IMG_2890 IMG_2891  IMG_2893 lttle match grl is a performance piece in which the audience is faced with the elements of the Little Match Girl to explore performance and story telling as a system. The darkness was never a constraint for me but I an added element of the story telling experience. Because I focus on body movement and the voice, I gave the audience free range to develop the images of this world. I had planned to use matches. Unfortunately forgetting them, I quickly used pieces of paper. These surprisingly made my piece much stronger. The sound provided an extra layer of anxiety an mystery to the piece that I was incredibly surprised by. I started this project by looking into Quad and children’s games like Ring Around the Rosy. These games provide the basis for which I add questionaries to probe the performers throughout the experience. The intent was to blur the line of the audience as a collective entity with related thoughts and as individuals.   For example, i’d ask very private questions that must be answer with shouting. This shouting gave a strange and vaguely threatening tone to the piece, but the more private questions made the audience further interested into being engaged. I overall feel the piece needs more work. It felt intentional but unnecessarily obtuse at points for my own liking. I would describe it as a system because it evolved in relation to an audience. The audience themselves and their collective number are the uncontrolled variables that changes the piece continuously through 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.    

Blackspace: Point Cloud

blackspacepost2The idea of working in complete darkness was exciting, but I had a hard time coming up with a system that would successfully translate to that situation. When I began working with the Kinect for my conference project, I realized I could use the Kinect for Blackspace. The thought never occurred to me before, but once I discovered that the Kinect works with an infrared camera and calculates depth it became the perfect project. pointcloud2I had only just begun figuring out the Kinect and at the time the possibilities seemed endless. However, I was very limited when I began due to the fact that 1. I was working with the Kinect version 1 which holds less capabilities than the second and 2. I had no idea how the “language” for the Kinect libraries worked. Daniel Shiffman’s Open Kinect for Processing libraries helped a great deal and provided complete examples for various Kinect projects such as Point Tracking and Depth Testing. It was all very overwhelming, but with time I began to understand how each of the examples functioned. BlackspacePointCloudGif The one example that stood out to me was the Point Cloud example. A point cloud is basically a large amount of points that resemble the depth of a person or object in a 3D space. Shiffman’s Point Cloud was white on a black background and rotated, giving various perspectives of whatever the camera was seeing. It seemed like the most interesting and interactive, so I decided to alter his Point Cloud for my Blackspace presentation. Working with the Kinect required an understanding of the machine itself as well as the logic of depth and distance. The new vocabulary and functions provided a great challenge for me. I had to study and interpret someone else’s code rather than one I’ve written myself. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to create my own codes with the Kinect, but not for Blackspace. The end result is a non-rotating point cloud on a black background. The points are pink when a person is closer to the Kinect, and blue if they are further away. It is a simple idea, but one that I thought would be fun and interactive for the whole class. The reason I decided to use two colors to represent the depth is because it felt more gratifying that way. People want to see results and changes, so the change from pink to blue is a fun one to watch. I also added various keyPressed() options that altered things such as changing the stroke of each point in the sketch, changing the point density (how concentrated or spread out the points are), and the tilt of the camera. I felt the project was received well and was fun for everyone. It was fun to see how everyone’s individual movements helped create and alter the sketch. blackspacepost3 I believe my project is a system due to the fact that it follows the “simple rules lead to complex phenomena” aspect of a system. The rules are simple: draw points wherever there is an object and if that object is close, make it pink, and if it is further, make it blue. However, the entirety of the system itself is complex in that there are many things to be taken into account such as object/person position, camera position, location, and movement speed. It is not self-evolving I don’t think because it does not evolve over time on its own, we cause the changes and they are reflected back to us instantly. I suppose in order to make it self-evolving there would have to be change within the code itself over time that cannot be controlled, simply followed.  

Blackspace : The Night Sky

17760607_10211930084185620_1623211113_n   17760510_10211930083945614_719956823_n Gazing at the stars is an extremely personal and natural experience that many encounter, when we were children the lullaby, twinkle twinkle little star was sung to us. It represents a simplicity and purity, the removal of outside influences, in which one abandons all thoughts and becomes fully encompassed by this magic. Deciding to code something so natural and pure strips it of these qualities that make it so attractive in the first place, becoming a commentary on how technology is now taking over humanities ability to access the rawness of nature and in life. Through the self evolving nature of this system, the originally star looking dots spread into one another and enlarge, morphing into floating bubbles, what we perceived earlier has been abandoned, forcing us to question what we are seeing and what it is evolving and its significane. Through the constant growth, development and expansion of technology today, the authenticity of the natural is minimized and instead we are replacing these experiences with the artificial, this is epitomized in my blackspace instillation. Also by projecting it on the roof, we are forced to lay and look up, a move that we also must do outdoors when gazing at the stars and the moon, however by projecting these on the roof of Heimbold that is largely pipes, the sterile atmosphere of the building is emphasized in what is supposedly the most ‘creative’ space on campus. Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.30.31 pmScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.30.39 pm Overall, I am quite pleased with how my Blackspace installation went. I found it very interesting watching others and how each person in the class interpreted the assignment very differently from one another. This was my first time coding something for this class alone and although it was challenging at times, I persevered and stuck with it. I had to be very patient as I often found that when I thought I had the hang of it, issues in processing would occur, and therefore I was unable to run the code. I think if I were to change and alter my code I would do more to make it change over time and I would also like to use perhaps more than one projector so it takes up more space on the roof, effecting its overall impact. I think if I were to make take this simple code and then project in on all walls and surfaces of the room, roof, walls and floor, it would be extremely powerful, overwhelming and encompassing. The audience reacted well to the instillation, however I think the most effective part of it was the beginning in which it looks closer to the night sky therefore I would keep this in mind if I were to make further adjustments. I think these changes would cause the project to fall more directly into the category of a ‘system’ as it would make greater changes over time and would become self – evolving (more than it already is). 17793175_10211930084065617_2065118028_n     17793348_10211930084385625_1233842294_n