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Generative Art 101: The Surprising Connection Between Math, Art and Nature.

In this article, Pankow.Us curator Al Pankow interviewed Russian US-based Visual Artist Introdima about fundamentals of Generative Art.


What is generative art?

Generative art is performed by mathematical algorithms that were written by the artist. And the role of the artist is to create an autonomous system and define algorithms according to which, the Art is being created.


The Generative 101 example is Kaleidoscope. The person is controlling the visual, but the algorithm has been created beforehand and adhere mathematical theory of chaos.


What is the main difference between generative and mainstream art?

Long story short, in “manual” art the artist is working on the piece itself and artist is the sole creator of the work. Each piece is controlled by artist. Only the artist is responsible for the work.


In generative art — the beauty lies in building a system, a third force that dominates the Artist and the work itself. The artist is “painting” the formula according to which a detail extends to numerous details and transforms into a completed piece of work. Unique characteristics of a piece are written in an algorithm.


Is there a practical use of Generative model in our daily lives?

Video games. To optimize the file size, the pictures are created in real time based on the scenario a gamer is experiencing. That is achieved by a code that predicts the behaviour of the visuals, like, landscapes. Generally speaking, that’s the same method visual artists are using, but to achieve art objectives.


OK, understood about video games. But where else the code is reigning a visual?

Three-dimensional virtual realities (VR), augmented reality (AR), visual projections in light design that can be applied in theatres, museums and concerts. Architecture-based mapping. So far it’s mostly that “21st century” type of stuff that is around us but still feels futuristic. A large amount of them are somewhat related to Generative.


In order to become an artist, shall one know how to code?​​​​​​​

It is enough to understand basic principles of programming and mathematics.


The software I use is already built for visual making, therefore one can just pick blocks and connect them and make changes to these blocks or use your programming knowledge to complicate the structure.


If you are into Python, Java, GLSL and so on, you would find visual art much more easy, but you can start without being familiar with them and make some basic pieces.


How do you think the first pioneers of Generative technologies were inspired to make such art?

To get back to basics, one could visualize the nature, all living organisms, numerous interactions from bacterial communities to molecules… The system is in the constant movement and interaction between each other, strictly following the rules of the nature.


All natural phenomena — rain, snow, fire. They are all meant to be seen as random and chaotic, but they are all working altogether in constant change and interaction.


The generative art is meant to be in constant change, to be an everlasting novelty. And one could interact with the visual using whatever sources — light, sound, spatial position of the physical objects. It’s information, for our art.


Tremendous number of living organisms use sound to communicate or exchange information. We can also connect it to our visuals and encounter the immediate changes. For example, depending whether the sound frequency is low or high, the visual lines might go up or down. That’s the most basic example, and you could only imagine how complicated the work could be if it takes each detail to account.


I think the founding fathers of this technology overseen the magic in the nature, because it makes us believe in the force of our planet. Our generative art movement might be the closest one to nature after all – we believe we are bringing back this unbroken interaction from the nature world.


What programmes are used to work with generative graphics?


- TouchDesigner

- vvvv

- Processing

- Pure Data

- Notch