Left Handed

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Left Handed is a computational sketch that explores the process of repetition and variation. The work was in Inspired by Alvin Lucier’s I Am Standing in a Room (1969) in which the artist positioned himself in a room and recorded himself narrating a text. He then plays back the recording and simultaneously re-records it. By repeating this process numerous times Lucier is employing the process of iteration to expose the acoustics of the space he is recording in.

This work employs a similar iterative methodology to Lucier in an attempt to explore the patterns inherent in human computational processes. I instructed myself to use a lead pencil to draw a square in the bottom left-hand corner of a piece of paper. The square is then enclosed in a square twice the size of the original that square is enclosed in another square twice as large as the second square. This action is repeated until the page is filled with iterations of the initial instruction. The work was increasingly smudged as I repeated the process because I was drawing with my left hand. The various smudges form a pattern that exposes the imperfect computational nature of my creative process.

Reference:

Strickland, E 1993, Minimalism: Origins, Indiana University Press, Indiana, pp 281

All Eyes On You

Project Statement

I created this image, titled ‘All Eyes on You, by writing a set of codes in the processing platform. The decision to use an instruction based media was inspired by Sol Lewitt, whose works demonstrates the algorithmic nature of art and design.

The image is comprised of a set of faces, most of which has set its gaze on an object of desire. Each iteration of the face is the same, yet different. The faces all share the same shape, dimensions, and relative position on the page, yet each repetition can be grouped, or differentiated, by its unique colour.

‘All Eyes on You’ aims to provide a commentary on Laura Mulvey’s popular feminist notion of the male gaze. The “pink face” can be seen as a woman, placed as an object of attraction amongst a crowd of men. This image is perhaps reminiscent of Edouard Manet ‘s “In the Winter Garden” (1879) in which a caliginous male is seen gazing toward a ravishing, illuminated woman.

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Code

void setup() {
size (755, 755);
background (117, 182, 195);
noLoop ();
}

void draw() {

draweyes(-80, -27, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(100, -27, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(281, -27, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(464, -27, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));

draweyes(-81, 195, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(100, 194, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(281, 195, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(461, 193, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));

draweyes(-74, 407, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(102, 407, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(275, 407, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));
draweyes(460, 407, color(250, 250, 250), float(10));

draweyes(-80, -25, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(100, -25, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(280, -25, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(462, -25, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));

draweyes(-80, 196, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(100, 195, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(280, 196, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(460, 194, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));

draweyes(-72, 408, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(102, 407, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(274, 407, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));
draweyes(458, 407, color(0, 0, 0), float(5));

drawFace(-120,-50, color(54, 199, 243));
drawFace(65,-50, color(55, 153, 186));
drawFace(250,-50, color(12, 70, 119));
drawFace(435,-50, color(85, 136, 161));

drawFace(-120,170, color(27, 100, 149));
drawFace(65,170, color(0, 148, 190));
drawFace(250,170, color(71, 142, 222));
drawFace(435,170, color(6, 92, 181));

drawFace(-120,390, color(5, 147, 190));
drawFace(65,390, color(255, 0, 179));
drawFace(250,390, color(50, 95, 146));
drawFace(435,390, color(44, 99, 250));

drawmouth (-10,-13, color(255, 203, 203)); // mouth top row left
drawmouth (+170,-13, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth top row
drawmouth (+360,-13, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth top row
drawmouth (+550,-13, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth top row right

drawmouth (-10,205, color(255, 203, 203)); // mouth second row left
drawmouth (+170,205, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth second row
drawmouth (+360,205, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth second row
drawmouth (+550,205, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth second row right

drawmouth (-10,425, color(255, 203, 203)); // mouth second row left
drawmouth (+170,425, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth for pink face
drawmouth (+360,425, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth second row
drawmouth (+550,425, color(255, 203, 203)); //mouth second row right

}

void draweyes (int a, int b, color c, float l){
stroke(c);
strokeWeight(l);
float scale = 1.5;
a = a – 10;
b = b – 10;
line(222/scale+ a, 176/scale+ b, 220/scale+ a, 176/scale+ b);
line(320/scale+ a, 176/scale+ b, 322/scale+ a, 176/scale+ b);

}

void drawFace(int x, int y, color c){
stroke(c);
float scale = 1.5;
x = x – 10;
y = y – 10;
strokeWeight(7);

if ( x == 256) {
stroke(255, 0, 179);

}
line(400/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y, 350/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y);
line(350/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y, 350/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y);
line(350/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y, 400/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y);
line(400/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y, 400/scale+ x, 255/scale+ y);
line(400/scale+ x, 255/scale+ y, 370/scale+ x, 255/scale+ y);
line(370/scale+ x, 255/scale+ y, 370/scale+ x, 280/scale+ y);
line(370/scale+ x, 280/scale+ y, 400/scale+ x, 280/scale+ y);
line(400/scale+ x, 280/scale+ y, 400/scale+ x, 335/scale+ y);
line(400/scale+ x, 335/scale+ y, 270/scale+ x, 335/scale+ y);
line(270/scale+ x, 335/scale+ y, 270/scale+ x, 395/scale+ y);
line(270/scale+ x, 395/scale+ y, 430/scale+ x, 395/scale+ y);
line(430/scale+ x, 395/scale+ y, 430/scale+ x, 140/scale+ y);
line(430/scale+ x, 140/scale+ y, 250/scale+ x, 140/scale+ y);
line(250/scale+ x, 140/scale+ y, 250/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y);
line(300/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y, 250/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y);
line(300/scale+ x, 220/scale+ y, 300/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y);
line(300/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y, 250/scale+ x, 180/scale+ y);

}
void drawmouth (int g, int h, color c){
stroke(c);
int(g = g – 10);
int(h = h – 10);
strokeWeight(5);
line(90 + g, 210+ h, 145 + g, 210+ h);

}

Processing Sketch: for (int);

Recently I have spent some time trying to figure out how to replicate some of Andy Warhol’s paintings. His repetitious works seem to lend themselves quite well to being abstracted in Processing, but my lackluster of Java skills are proving to be a problem so far. Anyway, I wrote this code in a rush this morning as I was trying to wrap my head around the affordances of integers. A very simple bit of code, yet I think the abstraction is somewhat interesting.

Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 8.46.39 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-09-12 at 8.46.17 AM.png

Processing/ Sketching First Attempt

Today I was introduced to an interesting bit of software called processing. This open-source and free-to-use software great a tool for visual designers and artists to create computational works by writing code. I’m still quite new to coding but Processing is already making my life easier.

After spending some time getting accustomed to using Processing I set about creating a few sketches. Here you can see my first attempt at creating a drawing by using only computer code. I hope to share more in the coming weeks.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 3.11.55 PM.png

Not the most beautiful piece of code ever created, yet I did still manage to produce a (very simple) CAD sketch.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 3.12.09 PM.png

Erica Scourti- Life in AdWords

 

The proliferation of networked mobile phones, social media, and search engines has helped shape our lives in the twenty-first century, yet many users remain unaware of the forces that work discreetly behind the wall of content that we see every day. The watchful, calculating features that we don’t immediately notice when accessing new-media platforms are algorithms, designed to collect our data and analyze our every online move. Originating in computer science, algorithms can be simply described as sets of “if–then” rules (Dholakia, 2015). The uptake of online activity has enabled marketing companies to find an astonishing variety of ways to employ algorithms to track and measure customer behaviors. Algorithms are now assisting marketers to utilize customer-specific data to craft customized offers and deliver them to internet users in the form of ads.

London-based artist, Erica Scourti, creates visual artworks that highlight the role algorithms, and the codification of self, are playing in our twenty-first-century lives. Scourti’s works consist of performative actions and audio-visual pieces that deal with the notion of self-mediation. In 2013, Scourti completed a Master of Research degree in Moving Image Art at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design where “her area of research was the figure of the female fool in performative video works and the mediated subject of networked capital” (Scourti, 2013). Scourti states “she is interested in the patterns that structure language in the Web and their capability to influence the self-determination of the users in a complex context of an individual but networked experience” (Burugorri, 2014). Much of Scourti’s work appears to reflect on image and text associations that appear natural, yet show a discreet learning process. Scourti’s works detail, with herself as the object of a subtle satire, attempts to “self-exploit, self-semiotise and self-better”, through the lens of a technologically mediated/ networked life (Rourke, 2013; artwork, n.d.)

In 2012- 2013 Scourti produced an internet based work titled ‘Life in AdWords’ which demonstrates the customized advertising and codification capabilities provided by Google’s AdWords algorithms. In ‘Life in AdWords’, Scourti wrote and emailed her diary to her Google Gmail account each day and produced a series of webcam videos in which she read out the keywords attached to suggested ads that were appearing in her web browser. Scourti explained in a (2013) interview with Marc Garett that she wanted her work to make visible the way algorithms are being deployed to codify personal information into data profiles that advertisers can then access to produce customized, targeted advertising. Scourti employs a mix of spoken language and Internet technologies to encode the mediation of personal (and collective) experience created by Google’s algorithms. The result is highly confessional, autobiographical codification; the work depicts the codification of personal information that Google’s algorithms and advertisers have abstracted from users. In the process, Scourti manages to address “the mediation of personal and collective experience through language and technology in the networked regime of contemporary culture” (Garrett, 2013).

Scourti is able to show the workings of Google’s codification/ algorithmic system by bringing attention the language produced by AdWords, whilst simultaneously employing subtle humor to get her point across. The flattening out of all difference between objects/ feelings/ places (e.g. work-related stress, cat food, God, Krakow); and the lack of shame the software displays in tallying bodily and mental malfunctions (blood, poo, mental health issues) are all quite humorous, yet manage to show the robotic, non-human aspects that are prevalent in Google’s codification software. This technique exposes cultural issues with the invasiveness of technology and its ability to confuse algorithmically produced language as our own. (Garrett, 2013).

Google is not a tech services company. in 2012, 95% of the company’s revenue was derived from advertising (SEC, 2012). The ads that the company provides are tailored to individual users by employing algorithms to learn their interests and habits across Google’s many services, as is evidenced by Scourti. Subscribing to Google’s products requires the user to hand over the authorial agency of their information. The company combs through user’s email, calendar, and web browsing history, and it even tracks routine locations – for example, the user’s daily commute in order to collect and codify data that is then passed on to advertisers (Travica, 2015). As stated by Scourti (2013) “We are commodities delivered to advertisers, which keep the Web 2.0 economy ‘free’.” By comparing her emotive diary entries against the personalised ads she received after sharing her diary with Google, Scourti reveals the invasiveness of Google AdWords and the company’s ability to translate people’s personal experiences into code.


References:


Burugorri, M 2014, ‘Interview with artist Erica Scourti.’, Network Cultures, http://networkcultures.org/culturevortex/2014/01/10/interview-with-artist-erica-scourti/,Accessed 17 August 2016

Dholakia, UM, 2015, ‘The perils of algorithm based marketing’, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2015/06/the-perils-of-algorithm-based-marketing, accessed 17 August 2016

Garrett, M 2013, ‘A Life in AdWords, Algorithms & Data Exhaust. An interview with Erica Scourti.’, Furtherfield, http://www.furtherfield.org/features/interviews/life-adwords-algorithms-data-exhaust-interview-erica-scourti, Accessed 17 August 2016

Rourke, D 2013, ‘Artist Profile: Erica Scourti’, Rhizome, http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/oct/8/artist-profile-erica-scourt,accessed 17 August 2016

SEC 2012, From 10-K, http://www.sec.gov/ Archives/edgar/data/1288776/000119312513028362/d452134d10k.htm
Google Inc., 2012, accessed 17 August 2016

Scourti, E 2013, ‘Life in AdWords.’ Erica Scourti website, http://ericascourti.com/art_pages/life_in_adwords.html,, accessed 17 August 2016

Scourti, E 2013, Biography, Erica Scourti website, http://www.ericascourti.com/art_pages/biography.html, accessed 17 August 2016

Scourti, 2013, Artwork, Erica Scourti website, http://www.ericascourti.com/art_pages/artwork.html, Accessed 17 August 2016

Travica, B, 2015. Modeling organizational intelligence: Nothing googles like Google. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge, Vol. 3, no. 2,