Generative Art is a Valentine Process

Our friends at Creative Capital this week turned us on to the "master" of the zoetrope, Eric Dyer, who generates magic by taking advantage of the mind's hardwired perception rate. Watch the video.

The trippy virtual reality of entering a zoetrope'd tunnel - what a great idea! - takes the practice to new place, one, thankfully, devoid of bulky headsets and the like. Shining a penlight on its walls is revelatory in much the same manner as the paintings at Lascaux.

It's hard to look away. One doesn't want to.

Similarly, Nervous System, the self described generative art studio, turns algorithms -  nature's algorithms - into a variety of interesting and functional objects. I've long been interested in the whys and hows this kind of work, not the least because the resources to produce it are increasingly available to makers, not just to industrial designers on substantial budgets. Hobbyists now can get their hands on additive and subtractive manufacturing in the form of 3D printers and CNC machines, respectively, and turn small work spaces into miniature factories creating useful objects that happen to be beautiful.

Today, the Nervous System blog goes into a bit more depth on the science behind why certain flowers explode into form, and suggests that those principles might be applied differently.

Let’s imagine this applied to architecture.

One might, the post suggests, simply add water to objects so that they deform in certain useful ways. The point is well taken. Why can't the amateur or artist, like the material scientist, hack chemistry to produce volume and shape, or even to build shelter?

We are product of a hacked chemistry. Given 13.8 billion years, hydrogen, warped by gravity, produced complex beings capable of having a good look around, of asking questions about their world. Who's to say that the quantum processes that convert light into plant energy at nearly 100 percent efficiency won't some day be harnessed by we nervy beings to solve some particularly vexing problem, to unlock secrets or to halt damaging pathologies. Generative art, indeed.

I think I'll call it the Valentine process.

This weekend, tell someone you care.

Stay curious.


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Video: Eric Dyer, Modern Master of the Zoetrope from Creative Capital on Vimeo.