This project served as a pressure valve to release some anxieties. I decided to approach this work conceptually instead of technically. The mouth in general, and specifically my mouth, is a focal point of some of my stressors. When stressed, I'm a chatterbox. Having braces is also an (admittedly petty) aesthetic anxiety. The mouth even is lent a cleaning ritual independent of the rest of one's body.
On deciding the body part to focus on, I then had to decide whether I would exacerbate or hide the point of contention. I chose exacerbation because I thought it would be more interesting and there seems to be a certain humor in the discomfort it brings.
Finally, I had to choose how to focus on the conceptual point. I had the idea of taking clippings of the mouth and expanding them similar to a megaphone.
The work isn't a masterpiece, but the novelty was there. Many of my friends giggled and wanted to try it out. If I was to keep focusing on this, I would focus on increasing tracking stability. One idea I played with but didn't make it into the final version was storing different mouth photos and displaying them randomly among the panes, but the effect was a little different from what I wanted.
I'm completely enamored with 21 Obstacles by Daily Tous Les Jours. The project is a game projection installation, projected a building, with players using swings to interact with the game. The idea of using a swing as a controller is wonderful because it takes a usually relaxing, swaying motion and makes it energetic. Not only that, but the project begins to allow inhabitants of a region to have a loci of control over their environment, which one usually lacks in a city.
The concept for this piece was using a clock as the foundation of a fractal. I chose the Kali's simple fractal algorithm because its symmetry works well with rotating parts such as the clock face. Early in the project, my methods were far more elaborate than necessary, involving a Kinect, and an early prototype of the shader using openFrameworks.
In the end I moved to P5 partially to make the work easily sharable. This piece involved much trial and error in trying to use shaders in P5.JS. I had originally hoped to make the clock in P5.JS and use it as a uniform texture, but settled for defining the clock with distance functions. Overall I would say the piece is interesting, but I'm not sure if the clock motif reads as well on its own with how varies the fractal becomes with time as a rotation input.
As technology advances we will always be bombarded by a series of novel use cases of technology for art. Exploring the new and novel is not inherently wrong, but it is worth considering the reason for any goals of pioneering a medium. Kyle McDonald had an interesting critique on the need to claim first or define an incremental change as groundbreaking.
to focus on an incremental change as a "first" is to deny the history leading to that moment. maybe it's time for someone to write a history of face manipulation that covers everything from GAN-based synthesis to old hollywood effects?
There is an undeniable ego to artists proclaiming themselves as pioneers. Importantly, many of the First & Last authors mentioned in the article have a deep understanding of the history of their medium, which likely contributed to their understanding of a possible future and novelty.
I would hope the goal of this exploration is in order to find new ways to connect with those interacting with art. Marshall McLuhan has discussed the importance of medium, and it is possible that these new mediums of work will help a series of artists connect in a way we never expected.
The process of creating this gif was a combination of incredible fun and stress. I considered doing a geometrically focused animation à la Bees and Bombs, but I do those kind of worksalot. I decided to use this project as a way to explore some whimsy instead. My full animation ended up being a little longer, with a day night cycle and a moon, but near the export phase of this project I ended up having a series of technical difficulties involving file size and frame rate, so I simplified the deliverable for the sake of time. I ended up choosing the smoothStep easing function partially because I liked the feeling of the sun and cloud coming in as if they were runnings lining up for a race. I would say the piece may not be incredibly complex, but it was helpful to get out of my stylistic comfort zone a little. Where I fell short most was interactions in the scene. The sun/cloud and hill/sheep interaction is basically the same, and without the day night cycle there isn't as much to unify everything in the scene.
The process of recoding the Molnár piece was much harder than I expected. I spent more than a handful of hours staring at the piece and wondering whether the runs were of the same algorithm, and if not, what had stayed the same. I fell short in a few ways. I had more straggler lines than I wanted (some were in the actual image, though for me it was a bug). Working with multiple holes proved harder than I thought. I don't think my piece has the same directionality as Molnár's piece either. I also tried to implement rectangular holes, but it didn't end up panning out. I have especially learned to appreciate the gaps, as the more I researched and worked, the more I noticed that was far from replication.
If effective complexity is to be understand as a system moving in a structured yet unpredictable way, the slime mold can be a fine example. The slime mold is a single celled organism that will continuously expand itself until it reaches food nearby, at which point it will contract until it exists in the shortest path between itself and food. It has no control over the food position, but will follow the same logical procedure when it finds the food.
I think about The Problem Of Uniqueness quite often. Instagram is now full of simple effects on typography, or looping gifs of shape illusions. Even more complex generative art tends to follow much of the same structure. I do think that there are moments with which artists can express uniqueness, even in a space where it seems everyone is playing the same hand. Take for instance the generative artist Shane, who has donemanyplays on the idea of a tunnel, or turned a truchet pattern into a structure, or sculpture.
Inigo Quilez's Happy Jumping (2019) is an incredible project for a few reasons. The project itself is a raymarched shader of a cute character jumping around on a bouncy floor in a surreal landscape. One can easily talk about the impressive technical skill behind this piece. The jumping is believable, the floor bounce is wonderful. What I find admirable about this piece is how whimsical the work is, given the context of the piece. ShaderToy is a host to many technically skilled individuals, a few of which have masters and PhDs in math or physics. This piece breaks a mold of the usual geometric study and invites silliness to an otherwise mathematically focused group. The algorithm behind this piece are available for all to see, but the main backbone is the raymarching algorithm, and movement is done with noise. Inigo has proven that he caneasilydophotorealism, but lately his sensibility from has time at Pixar has been prevalent in his work. Though infinitely generated, the piece will always be the happy creature jumping along.
Mark Wheeler's This City is the piece that inspired me to learn openFrameworks. In the piece, Wheeler sits surrounded by a garden of synthesizers, MIDI controllers, and a laptop. Behind him, one sees a projection of infinite spanning roads packed with cars, which he controls with the MIDI devices around him. Part of the mysticism of the piece comes from the video composition: the dark room with subtle blips of light from the machines and the electronic music create a murky, ethereal tone. A moment that I especially admire is around the 1:18 minute mark where Wheeler cuts from footage of him turning a knob to the gravity disappearing in the scene.
This editing technique was able to convey a causal relationship in an elegant way. Mark coded the app himself using openFrameworks and co-directed the video with Clay Weishaar, and was assisted by Christine Cha. Around the time of the work, live coding audio visual had an exciting subculture forming, with tools such as Quil and Overtone becoming widely available. This project pointed towards an exciting future of coevolutionary works where audio and video have a direct relationship, instead of one controlling the other.
I had a spare minute and decided to attempt a small codegolf in shaders. I did the assignment without loops using distance functions and got it to 271 characters with hollow cores and antialiasing (241 without click random and antialias, 189 without hollow cores and antialias). The goal was to keep it under 280 characters.