"Generative Art" talk at Hamilton Artists Inc.

On October 1st, 2016, I gave a short talk on the generative artworks I have been making over the past 7 years. This was part of a series of "Pecha Kucha" style talks, in which each presenter has 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each. So this was a very brief overview of my work in this area.

 

 

Labour Audio Triptych

I have an audio work in a group show opening at The Workers Arts and Heritage Centre on September 11th. The show is called 20/20 Vision/Hindsight and presents "work that highlights important historical and contemporary social struggles". The show will run until December 19th, and there are a number of public, educational events associated with it. More details can be found here:

http://wahc-museum.ca/event/2020-visionhindsight-20th-anniversary-exhibition/

My three part audio work is about the current lived experience of inequality and precarious employment in Ontario. A 2013 McMaster University study (in collaboration with United Way) showed that barely half of working adults in Hamilton and the GTA have permanent full-time work (Lewchuk et al.) The rest are working in temporary, contract, or casual positions and have no benefits or job security.  We also know that inequality is increasing at an accelerating pace, in Ontario and across Canada.

These works were created from audio recordings made in workplaces in London, Ontario, such as supermarkets and construction sites. The recordings were then manipulated in order to create these three soundtracks, which express the feelings of stress, anxiety and uncertainty produced by precarious employment, and also reflect the conditions and mechanisms that lead to it.

Four Winds abstract painting generator Android app.

Four Winds is an Android app that generates abstract compositions that constantly evolve over time. The "painting" starts with a composition of coloured squares, but as the painting progresses these colours are shifted around by different textural painting methods. The original colour composition is chosen by an algorithm that selects from a range of different harmonious colour relationships, based on colour theory. The app has an internal clock that moves forward over time so that different colour ranges are subjected to different painting methods as time progresses. This causes the painting to evolve, with different colours and textures becoming more predominant, then later fading away.

The app is available, free, on the Google Play Store:

Four Winds


Android Apps

I have written a couple of apps that are available on the Google Play app store. The first one, called "Vision Persist" is an interactive abstract painting generator based on my Colour Mutator work which was exhibited at Enjoy Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand in 2009:


The second one is called "Pixel Camera Paint" and allows you to create pixelly, abstract compositions by pointing your device's camera at a scene and capturing parts of it in a digital collaging process. You can pause and restart the capturing, and also save your composition to an image file once you have something you find interesting:

I consider these apps to be interactive artworks - that allow the user a certain amount of freedom to play and generate their own compositions, but also have constraints imposed by the artist, so that they always create things with a particular aesthetic. In this way the works are similar to, say, Brian Eno's generative music apps (Scape, for example), which let you create your own music compositions, which nevertheless, still sound like Brian Eno music. You can explore the whole possible mathematical space of an album's possibilities, rather than just getting one particular outcome.

Here are the links to the apps on Google Play:

Vision Persist

Pixel Camera Paint

The interfaces for these apps are very simple - no menus, buttons, or settings that you can change. Interacting with the apps is simply a matter of tapping, long-tapping, or dragging on the screen. I think for artworks distributed as apps, simplicity and ease of use are very important. Having said that, I am in the process of further developing my Android app development skills, and am planning to publish some apps that offer some customizability through settings menus.

London, Ontario Photoblog.

I have started a new photo blog at http://londonontariophoto.tumblr.com/

The subject of the blog is the city that I live in, London, Ontario. These photographs represent my own experience of living in this city. I am attempting to show things as I find them – mundane, dilapidated, ordinary, prosaic, beautiful, enigmatic, depressing, or several of these at once. I do not wish to show everything in a defamiliarized way that implies that I have a special, enlightened understanding of the subject that I am trying to impart to the viewer. I do not wish to apply a particular aesthetic to all the photographs so that they end up portraying my own way of seeing the world, rather than the city itself. Inevitably, either of these things could end up happening, as photographs are inherently subjective, and sometimes the photographer does see and present a particular understanding of a subject that enlightens the viewer. 

Who are these photographs for? Myself, as making them helps in my process of thinking about the place I live in, and my own relationship to it. Other inhabitants of London, so that they can see it through my own eyes, not a more enlightened view, just a different one. Anyone else in the world who might be curious about this small, struggling town between two big lakes (and two big cities), somewhere in the middle of the vast North American continent. The more curiosity I have about it, the more it reveals itself, and this photo blog is part of that process.

worlds away comic store dundas london ontario.JPG