Dream image project: Random compositions

My experiment; cutting up words putting them together in new constellations, inspired me to do the same experiment with visual elements from my dream images instead of words. I wanted to cut out elements from the pictures and randomly put them together in new constellations and compositions.

My questions: How can I use code as a tool for randomness and how can surrealism dictate guidelines for visual compositions?

After looking at several surrealistic paintings, Miro’s “Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird” (1926), ended up being my inspiration source. The image show a classic surrealistic composition, a kind of a landscape with a horizon, sky, plateau/ground, a key figure as a foreground element and variouse minor objects.
The key figure is absurd, a big foot and an eye lets the viewer perceive it as a person. The horizon gives a feeling of a large space. The smaller elements create connection and tension to the key figure.

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The principle from the game Cadavre Exquis helped me to construct the key figure. I decided to work with a two-part “person”; a head and a body. For the background I made a top and a bottom element and finally one or two objects of a smaller size.

While I was cutting out backgrounds and elements in Photoshop, I made some tests images manually, and based on those images I locked the proportions to 16:9 and the use of color tone in order create contrast between objects and background.

I had thoughts about randomness; it is hard to work conscious randomly – some kind of deliberate action rapidly takes over. To avoid that I could have used a random generator such as a dice. I could also use a computer; load in elements from my dream image and set up a code for the composition.

My colleague Stig, who has a great experience in different kind of code, offered me to create a code in Processing.
I gave Stig a catalog of png-files to work with, two hours later I received forty different images, the output from processing.

output_01

My reflection
I am quite satisfied with the outcome of this first test. Looking at the images lots of storys comes to my mind, I hear sound and see movements. It has a greater impact on me than expected.
This way of working has change my view at my Dream Images, they are no longer final and finished works of art; they are a reservoir from where the material can be transformed into other elements or expressions, and for me it feels like a relief and an opening to new possibilities. I am aware of the importance that the images are created in the purpose as finished pictures and not as elements in an other step in a production plan. If they were made as elements I would had taken over the control and lost the randomness.
I enjoyed making the catalog, it gave me a visual overview and made it easy for others to understand and help me.
Involing Stig to my project is of an incredible value. I do not have any skills in coding, to learn it would have taken me lots of time.

Whats next?
· Some of the objects have been categorized as “element” and body as the same time; it dosen´t work. An object can only goes into one category.
· Making a new category with object that can function as a micro element.
· Send the new Catalog of material to Stig and let him make a second test.

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