A&HA 5128: PERIODIC UPDATE #5

Artifacts To Date:

I had a plan for two different computational textiles for my final project and I prototyped them in Scratch.

Two Agents Crossing:

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 2.28.04 PM

Perfect Squares in an Imperfect Grid w/8-bit Fill Variability:

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.35.01 PM

Feedback:

So far my feedback from peers has been polite encouragement, rather than specifically pointed or instructive comments. I assume because none of us work with textiles the comments are brief 🙂

Your Assignment To Yourself:

In the next weeks I have to push myself to translate my ideas from Scratch into Processing. There I can have more control over my design’s dimensions and code in the appropriate color palettes to comply with the WOVNS platform’s constraints. That’s challenging for me – I feel it’s a bit like translating  a poem from one natural language to another because you must be mindful that literal translation isn’t really appropriate. You must translate for meaning and understanding that fits the second language.

So far I’ve only made my original designs in Scratch because I am so comfortable with it. I’ll be rethinking my generative instructions to fit Processing which is sometimes tricky for me.

Timeline:

I don’t have any timeline adjustments at the moment.

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A&HA 5128: PERIODIC UPDATE #4

Explorations

This week I experimented with a new Processing script that makes a generative piece inspired by Peter Struycken’s Komputerstrukturen 1. I’ve published the code to generate a piece like this below.

Looming10-21-2017 at 20.12.39s.png

// Tribute to Peter Struycken
// Dylan Ryder 10/23/2017
// Encoded for WOVNS computational textile production platform

// Talma Quality, Spectrum 14 Palette
size(3984, 3000);

background(#D0D0D8); // Chalk 
noSmooth();
noStroke();
int a = 10;

int w = 7*a, h = 7*a; // inch by inch

fill(#0C0000); // Dark Crystal
for (int x = 0; x < width; x += w) {
 // threshold based on a gaussian function (bell curve) that gives
 // a number between 1 in the middle of the screen and 0 at the left
 // and right edges. the 8.0 adjusts the width of the bell, i.e.
 // how quickly the value drops to 0 as you move towards the edges of
 // the screen.
 float threshold = exp(-4.0 * sq((x / width)));
 for (int y = 0; y < height; y += h) {
 // generate a random number between 0 and 1 and compare it to the
 // threshold. if it's less than the threshold, draw a small square.
 if (random(1) < threshold) rect(x, y, w, h); 
 }
}

// generate a unique filename for each generation based on datestamp
save("Looming"+nf(month(), 2)+"-"+nf(day(), 2)+"-"+year()+" at "+nf(hour(), 2)+"."+nf(minute(), 2)+"."+nf(second(), 2)+"s"+".png");

At this point my goal is to create an original script that will be woven as a jacquard textile and displayed as a 48″ x 36″ tapestry.

My Timeline

Date Action
11/10 Finalize original generative art script for computational textile.
11/11 Submit design file to WOVNS for fabrication.
11/25 (hopefully) Receive textiles from weaver. Consider mounting options.
12/8 Finish mounting for showcase.

A&HA 5128: Periodic Update #3

Research

I spent this week researching procedural artists that use computing, and notable weavers/textile artists from the Bahuas School.

I came across contemporary artist, Jeff Donaldson, the founder of Glitch Haus textiles. I do enjoy some of his weaves, but I am a little more interested in another project, his “prepared Nintendo” pieces. These are hacked NES video game consoles that are used to generate glitch art. The idea reminds me a bit of composer John Cage’s “Prepared Piano” works in spirit.

79814b39b08866f2216cb5dad35dbe6d_originalDonaldson, Jeff. “Light Scan.” Data Weave, Kickstarter, www.kickstarter.com/projects/notendo/data-weave.

I also discovered Peter Struycken and his “Komputerstrukturen” series which are prints executed by computer programs. I really enjoy these, but I am still trying to figure out why exactly.

w_ks1
Peter Struycken - Computer Programs with Details, www.pstruycken.nl/EnProgDet.html#p_OSTRC.

Next I dove into the amazing work of the Bauhaus textiles & fiber arts group. Two artists that I want to highlight are Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers.

Stölzl was the Bauhaus’ only female master and her work is thought to exemplify the distinctive style of Bauhaus textiles. Below is an amazing one of her wall hangings titled, 5 Choirs.

gse071-l
Stölzl, Gunta. “Jacquard Wall Hanging - ‘5 Chöre’ (5 Choirs).” Gunta Stölzl, Wall Hangings, www.guntastolzl.org/Works/Bauhaus-Dessau-1925-1931/Wall-Hangings/i-38mQW2r.

 

Anni Albers was a Bauhaus student of Stölzl and is credited as an artist who elevated textiles from merely a craft to an art form.

1379358739-albers_001_redmeanderAlbers, Anni. RED MEANDER. Christopher Farr, christopherfarr.com/rug/red-meander/.

Process

I tinkered further with my Processing script, and below is my tribute to Anni Albers Eclat

The ruleset of the main procedure draws white triangles on a black background, randomly assigning rotation values (in multiples of 90 degrees) as it lays them out. The piece is generative and is never exactly the same each time it is executed. The pink rectangles on the right are not generative and will always be the same.

Looming10-20-2017 at 15.48.14s

Here is the code:

// Tribute to Anni Albers "Eclat"
// Dylan Ryder 10/20/2017
// Encoded for WOVNS computational textile production platform

// Talma Quality, Pastel 20 Quality
size(3984, 3000); // 46-48" x 36", 84 DPI

background(0); // Carbon
noSmooth(); // anti-aliasing won’t be handled properly in weaving
noStroke();
noFill();

int widthSplit = 23;
int heightSplit = 17;

int w = width / widthSplit;
int h = height / heightSplit;
int r;

// main pattern of triangles in a grid of rows & columns
for (int col = 0; col < (widthSplit-1); col++) {
  for (int row = 0; row < heightSplit; row++) {

  fill(#F9FAF9); // Blizzard
  r = int(random(3)); // random rotation multiplier

  if (r == 0) {
  //TL-TR-BL
  triangle(w * col, h * row, w * col + w, h * row, w * col, h * row + h );
  } else if (r == 1) {
  //TL-TR-BR
  triangle(w * col, h * row, w * col + w, h * row, w * col + w, h * row + h );
  } else if (r == 2) {
  //TL-BL-BR
  triangle(w * col, h * row, w * col, h * row + h, w * col + w, h * row + h );
  } else {
  //TR-BL-BR
  triangle(w * col + w, h * row, w * col, h * row + h, w * col + w, h * row + h );
  }
 }
}

// pattern of rectangles down right edge
for (int row = 0; row < heightSplit; row++) {
  fill(#FFE4F3); // Pinking
  rect(width - w, h * row, width, h / 2);
}

// generate a unique filename for each generation based on datestamp
save("Looming"+nf(month(), 2)+"-"+nf(day(), 2)+"-"+year()+" at "+nf(hour(), 2)+"."+nf(minute(), 2)+"."+nf(second(), 2)+"s"+".png");

A&HA 5128: Periodic Update #2

Research

Agnes Martin – After a conversation about procedural art and my generative coding experiments with my course instructor (Hi Erin!), she mentioned Martin’s work. It’s new to me and I’m really excited about it! She was an abstract painter with a keen knack for grids and procedural, repetitious forms that I think would be perfect to explore in my own visual programing experiments.

161017_r28851
“Summer” (1964): Synthesizing both Abstract Expressionism and minimalism. Courtesy Patricia L Lewy Gidwitz

Process

The bulk of my time in studio this week was devoted to experimenting with generative art in Processing. Coding pieces that conform to the WOVNS platform constraints of resolution and color. This single piece I’m sharing below is one execution of a script that randomly assigns colored squares and prescribes exact bottom and right border patterns. I’m inspired to research more geometric artists and weaving patterns.

Looming_00
An untitled generative textile run.

A&HA 5128: PERIODIC UPDATE #1

I have decided to pursue a project exploring the intersection of pixels as threads, or screen resolutions “re-represented” with threads-per-inch. I will use Processing code as art material to create generative art pieces conforming to some specifications of the WOVNS platform. This way my selected generative art works can be fabricated as textile and fabric art.

My research and explorations need to go in two directions. One one hand, I must learn the technical specifications of the WOVNS platform, and on the other, I want to explore art and artists that will inspire me.

Technical Explorations

My technical research consists of exploring a set of generative art examples on from WOVNS. They have a number of tutorials available for users to choose from, and the Processing section describes a free set of Processing scripts that one can tinker with to see how it all works.

Next I watched a Video Tutorial for Processing and WOVNS computational textiles platform with artist and professor David Mellis. It was a nice beginner tutorial demonstrating how to make your own generative art code under the constraints of WOVNS particular pixel resolution and color palettes.

Research

Since I am interested in making generative and procedural art for textile production I have been digging into the work of some exciting artists that intersect these themes in their own work.

Sol LeWitt: The American conceptual artist was unknown to me until this Summer, but that only proves my naive art background. I’ve since become very excited about discovering his work, especially his wall drawings, patterns, and rule-based art works. I would love to read more of his instructions for drawings and about the specific nature of his procedural art and it’s potential intersection with code as art material.

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #356 BB Isometric figure within which are 3" (7.5 cm) wide black lines in three directions. (Cube without a cube), 2003
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #356 BB Isometric figure within which are 3" (7.5 cm) wide black lines in three directions. (Cube without a cube), 2003.

datamoshing: In an effort to explore how fabrics could mimic screens, I’m reading about an art trend of a few years ago called datamoshing. This technique blends compressed digital videos or photos together, removing keyframes from a file so the pixels smear and digital artifacts are enhanced. Another form of glitch art. I found interesting article about Russian photographer Polina Eframova, who recently shared a similar set of datamoshed photos, captured manually, rather than executably with code, by running digital video through an older PC that was not fully compatible with her camera software.

Phillip David Stearns: The artist behind Glitch Textiles and a throw blanket I found for sale on Adafruit’s website, Dark Code Throw. His goal seems to be fabricating woven-looking patterns that are produced in his artwork into physical, tangible weaves. This seems similar to what I might pursue for a final project – code generated fabric arts.

3007-00
Phillip David Sterns. "Dark Code Throw"

A&HA 5128: Research, Explorations, Materials, Tools

Currently my project areas of interest center around the transformation of pixels into physical matter. I’m kicking around the term “re-representation” of pixels, since pixels are often a digital representation of natural matter, they might then be considered as reconstituted or “re-represented” if we made a pixel form again out of natural matter. It all sounds strange, but I’m feeling engaged all the same.

Research
What are some areas that I can research related to my project ideas?

I’m currently scouring the Web for 3D build projects that are communicative as one way to explore this idea of physical pixels. So far I am really enjoying Chris Fenton’s “Pixel Weaver” which is an “entirely mechanical, punch-card driven, bit-mapped display”.

There are two main components to the machine – 1) a 32-hook Jacquard-style punch card reader (suitable for mounting over a small loom or any other device in need of mechanical control), and a 6×5 pixel, black and white display.
pw_hi
 Fenton, Chris. “The PixelWeaver.” Chrisfenton.com, www.chrisfenton.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/pw_hi.jpg.

In his documentation, Chris cites inspirations from a LEGO builder using the handle Ancient James who has also built a flip dot display with a LEGO “punch card” reader for input. The build is pretty excellent and was featured on Hackaday.

All those punch card references got me thinking about jacquard looms. I wondered what it would take to build my own mechanical loom. Some searching led me to an interesting artist named Pamela Liou, who is a Project Resident at Eyebeam and is currently researching the design of a DIY jacquard loom. She calls the project Doti, and it is still in development, but I am eagerly awaiting project updates.

Doti Loom: First Look from Ms. Pamela on Vimeo.

Explorations
What are some concrete things that I can explore during work time in our next class?

I think that I will likely attempt a rebuild of the single pixel mechanism from Ancient James’ LEGO flip dot display. I would be fun to reverse engineer the mechanism.

I will also explore the WOVNS computational textiles platform. They offer short-run access to jaquard looms under specific resolution and color constraints. Thinking about looms, textiles and fabric arts makes me want to explore the tool, which I came across this Summer when delving into resources shared by the Processing Foundation. It could be interesting to explore their tutorials for using Processing to generate textile patterns, which they could fabricate for a fee.

Materials
What materials do I need now?

At this stage I feel that my potential materials are pretty straightforward: LEGO technic parts if I choose to explore a display, and/or Processing code if I plan to explore patternmaking on the WOVNS platform.

Tools
What tools do I need now?

My tools are one in the same as my materials at this stage: LEGOs and/or the Processing code editor.

A&HA 5128: Generating Ideas

Our task this week was to begin brainstorming ideas for our final project in Studio in Creative Technologies. Documenting the process here.

IMG_7058My final brainstorm mindmap on 6” x 36” piece of balsa wood.

We began with a visual organizer titled “What goes into making an art piece?” with 7 columns designed to help us stratify the components of a new project into categories. It’s a great little machine for quickly identifying your interests and abilities before even having to think about the big idea behind a new piece of work. I was able to jot down potential materials, technologies, concepts, inspirations, and platforms before making my mindmap, which has a more narrow focus.

IMG_7062What goes into making an art piece?

After studying what I had written down more thoughtfully, I found that I was most interested in bits as a concept for my final project. I grabbed a scrap piece of balsa in the Thingspace studio and put “bits” at the center. I spread out from there with a few directions that bits could be explored from. One idea is to investigate how bits are used to represent natural objects (or “real stuff”) and then again how natural objects like paint, clay, post-its, etc are now often used to re-represent bit-forms. How has this trend evolved? Was it instant? Are there any other examples of this phenomenon of cyclical re-representation with other mediums?

Mindmap as tryptic. Click to zoom.

A second potential area of exploration is to investigate the tradeoffs of digital conveniences. Bits and their associated technologies give many new affordances and luxuries not yet fully evaluated by consumers for their potential health/safety detriment or waste creation. In the same way that food science and plastic packaging maximized food’s shelf life and expanded caloric volume prevent spoiling, they have also contributed to increased landfill packaging waste and human health problems such as obesity and adult-onset diabetes. What are consequences of having so many identifying bits out there about us?

A third area of exploration are bits and color. I’m very interested in color theory right now. Both additive and subtractive. It’s very intriguing to me how people seem to often appreciate good color pairings “when they see them”, yet only gifted and well-trained artists and designers have the ability to skillfully create such beautiful color pairs regularly. Like me, most of us can recognize it and feel it, but not easily make it. I wonder how the additive (RGB) color relationships are expressed by mathematicians and computer models, and how bits represent colors. How easily do computers generate color pairings that humans appreciate, and how can the mathematical expression of that relationship help us all better understand color?