In order to understand: Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp’s “3 Standard Stoppages” which is a visual demonstration of the working of chance.
What inspired me, is the idea of a meter; it was a meter, and it is still, but you can’t see it anymore.
I took my squares which initially was a self-portrait and stacked them – it is the same portrait, but now you see it in a new constellation.


In order to understand: Ellsworth Kelly

After buried my self in books and screens in attempting to get insight and knowledge enough to write a research paper, it comes as a relief to make practical investigations of different artists ways of creating and thinking.

What I used from Kelly, in this example, is the arbitrary arrangement of squares.
It was initial a self-portrait, I cut it up – it is still a self-portrait, but in a new composition.



Books by chance

I found three books, relevant to my research paper when I helped sort books from a deceased family member’s apartment.


How to design by Accident, James F. O’Brien, 1968:
Chance is beloved of Art, and Art of Chance.
Agathon fragments (c. 415 B.C.), quoted by Aristotle

In the retreat from the realistic image, things that were at one time considered to be only the ingredients have become the subject matter of paintings for many artists. Composition, color, tonal values, the way paint is applied, even the materials themselves, are acceptable subjects. With Pollock, the subject was the paint itself and the interesting way it arranged itself into globs, drips, and dribbles, winding and curving its way over the surface of the canvas with minimal control by the artist.


The Art of Assemblage, William C. Seitz, 1961:
Save for a few calculated examples, the physical characteristics that these collages, objects, and constructions have in common can be stated simply:
1. They are predominantly assembled rather than painted, drawn, modeled, or carved.
2. Entirely or in part, their constituent elements are preformed natural or manufactured materials, objects, or fragments not intended as an art material.

The book is about assemblage from 1910 to the end of 50’s. Artists like Picasso, Jean Arp, Duchamp, George Brecht, Louise Nevelson, Miró, Cornell, Rauschenberg is to be found.


Billedleg (Picture game), Gunnar Sneum, 1962:
The book is an introduction to create images in a playful way. Fx. a chapter about composition has this subtitle: How can the squiggle be arranged.

Research paper tutorial

Resume of the tutorial with Gareth Polmeer
Date: June 29. 2017
Topics: Abstract and first outcome

It was, in general, a release to talk with Gareth.
My subject for the research paper is still open, but I’m starting to narrow it down to something about the chance operation, control and, lack of control.
In keyword, my draft is about: coincidence, perception, information theory, chance operation, and AI
Gareth mentioned that there is a lot of interesting questions about the relationship between art and science in my first outcome.
He said that I am crossing into a much-debated field when I’m quoting Professor Zimmerman; the idea of speaking about the experience/perception in the kind of the language of information or terms of units of bits and bits this sorts of things are in themselves verily debated by philosophers and scientists. What we can infer from such a connection, and how intelligence works. One can speak about AI as having conciseness; it is related to the thing called the hard problem.
Gareth recomanded me to look at the journal called Leonardo; an American published journal, it’s a journal for the international society for art, science and technology. They publish articles by artist collaborating with scientists. He mentions that because there has been an increasing sense in which the arts and the sciences have come to be conflated in a sense – art and science are come to define itself in a very particular kind of way, it’s having a kind of domain over the art.

The question becomes about how I can make an experiment which connects natural scientist to an artistic question.
In the light of Karl Poppers (philosopher) idea of the function of science, it is hard to speak about that kind of things in relation to art, in the same kind of way.

How can I relate something like a controlled experiment to the contingency nature of artistic experience and something like that? I have to aware about linking the question up to an art question.

According to the information theory, I noticed a work of art made by Louise Nevelson I saw a few days ago. Gareth talked about Sol LeWitt; relating to developing process or questions about chance and contingency in the process and things like that. Artis like that could be interesting.

Gareth asked how far I was into the question about machine learning and creative AI, which I mention in the latest state of my notes.
I had heard two a lectures about AI; one was about AI and ethics; that we have to learn the computer ethic rules because they are on the way to take over the management of our society. The other one I heard had a title “Can AI be creative?” by John R. Smith, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center; it was about how technology can learn creativity. I asked can AI be/learn aesthetic?
Gareth noticed that Google the system that sort of generated images. Exactly what constitutes creativity in that respect. You have to import rules, to make a setup and the outcome will depend on the accuracy. And then there is all the other thing which aren’t things that can be variable input to computers, like emotion and embodied senses.

In the end, Gareth summarised that there is a very big question here but at the same time a couple of people, I mention, provided that I can focus on particular practices and a couple of particular theories. There is a lot of scopes, for it to be both a detail discussion but also still to stay reasonably within the limits of the 4-5 thousands of words, with some selected examples.


Dream image project: App for randomness

Finally, I step into a second level with my dream-image-random-test: I now have an app which can create an endless amount of images just by clicking spacebar.


My colleague Stig, who helped me last time setting up a code in Processing based on rules for compositions, and uses of elements from the catalogue of my, now created an app with only two functions: Next and save.
In order to respect the opportunities for randomness to appear, the app is made as simple as possible, less user control. While Stig was working on the app, he had ideas of making sliders for different purposes to control the output, but he realised that it was in contradiction to the fundamental idea of chance. Therefore he focused on simplicity in function and with few prefixed rules like; anger point at the bottom of every tree, a neck fixed on “body”, respect area around some objects.
The elements are sometimes arranged in very weird constellations like in the top of each other, in a way, I would never do.
I let the computer/app take part of the control inside an established system (the app). The amount number of images I can create, just by clicking spacebar, gives me a feeling of endless randomness. I can select and save images I find good and interesting. Then I can analyse the chosen output, making new rules based on my aesthetic, and so on.


Marcel Duchamp about chance

According to my research, I start getting interested in Marcel Duchamp. It seems like he appears in every text, video sequence or exhibition I am looking at. I understand that he is an essential person in the history of art and the art world today.
In this BBC interview from 1968, he comes around topics like retinal painting, cubism, The Large Glass (artwork he made from 1915-23), chance, readymade, mass production, pop art and up art and chock in the light of his working method.
The interviewer asks him:
Chance in art was something Dada set out to really explode to use…
…What do you think now the element of chance in the artwork of art is, having tried to control and device chance to serve your ends, do you think it is something subconsciously the artist project into the work?
Yes because chance are maybe unknown to us in other words, we don’t know the results of chance because we haven’t got enough brains for that. The divine brain, for example, could perfectly say there is no chance, I know what is going to happen…We are not able to detect what chance will bring. So it is a kind of alteration for chance or consideration of chance, almost as a religious element.
So it is very interesting to have introduced to put it as a service of art production.


Tutorial 3

Resume of the tutorial with Jonathan
Date May 22.
Topics: How is my practice going and a little about the research paper

Status right now:
I’m still making dream images. After mid-point review, I started a dream-diary: quick ink drawings. I like the freshness, but I’m not sure about the purpose. Maybe the purpose is just doing it and get a good feeling.

I’m waiting for a second Processing output test from my colleague Stig. I made a new catalogue of elements and some adjustments, one week ago. In the meantime, I tried to animate one of the dream images, but get bored before even finished. There could be three reasons for that:
1. Working too slow in After Effect and on another level than I used to, years ago.
2. My idea for movement is too boring and obvious I’m too much in control.
3. I need another layer/element in the moving part.

We talked about sound, scale, space and multiple monitors/screens as new elements to the investigate. I feel it is the way to go right now; jump into a new field and not complicating things which are working fine (the images).
The installation Ouroboros I saw at Click Festival, inspired me – sound, several screens, space, etc. Sound is powerful I have to do a deeper research. I could also start working with my text experiments; a voice could be part of a soundscape.
I reflect on avoiding being too much in control in the creating moment, sometimes I better like the first fresh and rough sketches than the final solution.

We talked about an exhibition by William Kentridge I saw a few weeks ago, and my first impressions; playfulness, control – out of control, drawing as a part of the entire expression and not as an art object.
WK’s style/language has a feeling of random and chaos in contradiction to Michal Craig-Martin who seems to be much more in control. At last tutorial, Jonathan recommended me to read about Michael Craig-Martin, because he had been working the most of his career with a kind of catalogue from where he made sculptures, paintings, wall drawings, etc. I heard him in an interview, and it surprised me to hear him say: I don’t have a plan, I never have a plan I do what is coming next. Because looking at his work, you don’t get that feeling.
We talked a little about the Research Paper and in the light of that two artists and my MA project, the issue of control/lack of control could be a subject for my research paper.