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I was considering telling you

about how Im descended from


Thor the Dog (rir Hundr), who slay
Olaf the Holy (lfr Haraldsson) at the
Battle of Stiklestad.
But...

2011.0628 Eyeo Festival, Minneapolis (, jas? Snakker de norsk der borte, da kanskje?)

Random Thoughts on Code and Form.


A brief survey of computational aesthetics.
Marius Watz | www.mariuswatz.com | www.generatorx.no | workshop.evolutionzone.com | twitter.com/mariuswatz

Hi, my name is Marius and I make images


and objects through code.

I have no formal education - not in art, not


in design, not in programming.

But I have been programming since I was


11 years old. Code makes sense to me.

Im not a scientist, researcher or designer


Im an artist.

My job is to imagine interesting things and


put them out in the world.

Topics for today:


-- Code as Material
-- Software Abstraction
-- Digital Fabrication and Parametric
Modeling
-- Data Sculpture
-- Etc.

First, lets consider the


unbearable lightness of digital
media.

The only inherent quality of


digital information is electricity.
High / low voltage levels denote
binary states, which in turn
encode information.

Digital data invariably represents


some other type of information.
Its most essential quality is
plasticity, the ability to assume
any configuration on demand.
Thus it is a truly universal
medium, but consequentially
lacks a materiality of its own.

But software processes do have


material qualities.
Algorithms are chosen for their
behaviors. Parameters are
optimized to produce a range of
desirable outcomes, interfaces
for their suitability to the task at
hand.

Software consists of:


-- Code (computational logic, algorithms)
-- Event loop (control structures)
-- Data structures (storage and mapping)
-- Inputs and outputs (arbitrary)

So the materiality of software is


actually process + logic:
-- Procedural
-- Parametric
-- Data-driven
-- Performative
-- Interactive

All aspects of software are


defined through code.
When software interfaces mimic
the physical world it is only
because we want them to.
Computational creativity has the
potential to be truly alien.

Generator.x

Generator.x exhibition, Stavanger 2005

Martin Wattenberg: The Shape of Song

Generator.x exhibition, Stavanger 2005

Casey Reas: Process 8 (Software 2)

Generator.x - The Concert Tour


- Live Cinema
- Software as instrument

Rediscovery of history Software art pioneers going back


to 1960/70s:
- Harold Cohen, Charles Csuri,
Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar,
Frieder Nake, Georg Nees,
Roman Verostko etc.
(This is not even close to a representative list...)

Significance: A deeper
background to the practice of
formal abstraction through code.
Also: Allows examination of
contrasting cultural contexts of
the movements of 1960-70s and
1995-2005.

1960-70s: Modernism, Cold


War, techno-optimism, social
upheaval
1995-2005: End of Cold War,
Post- (& post-Post) Modernism,
Deconstructivism, complexity
theory, quantum physics

Proposal: Software Abstraction


Art practice dealing with visual /
spatial abstraction through code
and computational processes.
Investigates computation as
a formal medium, borrowing
from Abstract Art, Op Art, NeoMinimalism etc.

Despite its obvious link to


technology, Software Abstraction
is not *about* technology. Its real
focus is exploring system logic
and generative form processes.
Conceptually, it investigates
the potential of computational
thought.

Unlike most media art, SoftAb does not reject object-based


practice, and may even result in
physical works with no technical
components.

Sample Soft-Ab topics:


-- Kinetic behaviors
-- Procedural mark-making (drawing)
-- Articulation of spatial structure
-- Software as instrument
-- Improvised performative systems

Parametric Modeling

Thank you for listening!


Marius Watz is:
marius@mariuswatz.com
http://mariuswatz.com
http://twitter.com/mariuswatz
http://twitter.com/generatorx
http://generatorx.no
http://unlekker.net
http:// workshop.evolutionzone.com/
http:// flickr.com/photos/watz/