Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pixel Drawing

The song we listened to in class made me think of an underwater scene, so here it is! I imagined it to be more Mario-for-the-Super-Nintendo-esque, but I still like how it turned out.

Scanned Images

Monday, January 23, 2012

William Latham

My Interpretation

The pieces that struck me the most from our class reading was the artwork by William Latham. At first, I was drawn to them because of how dichotomous and strange all of the pieces were. All at once, they seem to be both natural and unnatural, prehistoric and futuristic, real and unreal, and creepy yet beautiful. When I looked further into Latham's work, however, I found it to be much more than just those descriptives. The process by which Latham creates them is intriguing and telling.

To make the organisms, which Latham refers to as "3D computer sculptures", Latham uses a computer program called "Mutator". He typically begins with a basic shape or picture, and uses the program to morph his shape into something he finds aesthetically interesting. From there, the program allows him to mutate the "organism"'s "genes" in nine different ways. He chooses the mutant he likes the best, and continues to "breed" that mutant. In this way, his artistic process mirrors natural selection and the mutation of a species over time. He can even choose to breed multiple creatures together to create new and perhaps more grotesque organisms.

In one way, Latham's work demonstrates the power of deliberate choice in creation. Latham serves as the governing body of the entire evolutionary process, deciding which mutant strains can "reproduce" and which mutant strains will "die off". He could just let the organisms reproduce with each other randomly (or as assigned by some algorithm that he creates), but he chooses to be the sole mediator in his artistic works. Furthermore, Latham's work is a commentary on the genetic mutations that scientists do on biological organisms in their research. Latham says: "I am making a direct reference to genetic engineering and the way we are messing with nature. I too am using genetics and inbreeding to come up with my work. And like the scientists, you can't help but be fascinated by it." It isn't clear whether Latham has a positive or negative opinion on the scientific research done with breeding and genetic engineering, but his artistic interpretations are fascinating to look at and reflect on nonetheless.

In the past, Latham has been criticized for [according to the critics] letting the computer do all the work and not using any technical or artistic skill in creating his creatures. To me, though, that seems to be a harsh criticism. It is true that in this case, the computer program is acting as more than just an artistic medium, but it seems like the software can be better described as a creative partner for Latham. The program develops a variety of choices based off of algorithmic "breeding" and "mutation", and Latham provides the "natural selection" and the artistic insight necessary to create the creatures that he finds to be the most aesthetically interesting. The work certainly provides a lot of food for thought.

I found Lathop's bio and some of his works at: (bio written by Jim McClellen)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vlatko Ceric: Algorithmic Art

"This is a new millennium, a new age, one in which Art need no longer do battle with Science. Instead of existing in opposition, a beautiful synthesis between the two can be achieved."
--quote from the Agora Gallery, New York City

My Interpretation

Vlatko Ceric is an abstract artist from Zagreb, Croatia who specializes in computer modelling. His genre is classified as "software art" or "algorithmic art" because the art is generated from computer algorithms that he writes. To describe the process, Ceric explains that he puts his ideas into the code and the computer uses that code to display the his ideas. In this way, he utilizes the computer not only as a creative medium, but as a way to create the art in a way that he may not have initially envisioned or imagined. None of this algorithmic art is modified after-the-fact by programs like Photoshop or Illustrator, so they are presented in their most pure format.

I came across this piece from his Labyrinth Collection and found it to be intriguing in many ways. Initially, it is fun to look at because of its “optical illusion” appearance, but the more I examined it, the more I found in it. The piece, like most of Ceric’s work, was generated directly from an algorithm. There is a calculated simplicity in each individual square, but the complexities of the “labyrinth” arise from the combination of the smaller squares. When I look at the piece, I find myself connecting emotionally with it, which to me is a commentary on our ability and need as humans to create meaning from artwork. The piece was created from an algorithm, which is an unthinking analytical procedure; and yet I still feel connected to the image and amazed by it. According to the Agora Gallery in New York City: “There is a spirit inside the machine, and Vlatko Ceric has freed it.” I wouldn’t necessarily agree that there is a spirit inside the machine, but I do think it’s incredible that Ceric can use the machine to embody his own ideas and spirit, and translate that into something that other people, like myself, can find meaning in.

Either way, the fact that something so aesthetically beautiful can arise from a mathematical model goes against traditional perspectives on computers and algorithms. Ceric’s work shows that the marriage of creativity and analytics can give rise to some truly beautiful creations.

Here is Ceric’s website:
I originally found this piece on