This is my plotter drawing, “Cocktail Olive Generator.”
I’m pleased with this drawing, though it is by no means complex. This is very simple code created with a double for loop and some random parameters to generate a little variety. Honestly, the reason for the simplicity is two fold – one, this week my time was extremely short due schedule, so I created something simple that I knew I could execute in a reasonable amount of time (both to write the code and draw with the plotter). And two, I’m still at the early stages of creating generative drawings, so I’m sticking within my knowledge base on this particular assignment. When I wrote the code, I originally intended to create something that looked like bubbles. However, what appeared had the immediate and distinct appearance of cocktail olives. Such simple shapes took on a little bit of humor and playfulness, which was pleasantly surprising. It was a lot of fun to draw these with the plotter, and I would like to try to create a more complex drawing with this machine again. In addition to being fun to watch, it was very satisfying to have something that had been entirely digital, take on physical form, using nice paper, a good pen, and a tangible output. I think the pedagogic value of this assignment is multi-layered, but this connection between the digital and physical is paramount. Witnessing a machine make marks with a pen has an uncanny effect of seeming both animate and mechanistic at the same time. This also displayed for us the actual process that the computer uses to draw the lines we generate in Processing – breaking them down into separate actions instead of immediately appearing on screen as it does in the browser (play window). This helped us to dissect our code, seeing how we might logically change it to make the plotter process faster or more streamlined. One odd thing was that the plotter actually drew each circle twice before lifting up and drawing the next circle. There must be a reason in my code, but I wasn’t able to determine this.
I think it would be fun to create a drawing that utilize the plotter and hand drawing, using the machine as a collaborator to create an artwork.
Below is the code: