All posts in Art & Technology

New Work: Algorithmic, Procedural and Generative Art Sketches – Mark Gould, 2013


I’ve been working for the last few years using a combination of “creative coding” applications like Processing, thanks in part to the very large community that supports each other in the development and sharing of open source code and new media creation tools. Max/MSP, Quartz Composer and openFrameworks. Although I wrote HTML as a web designer for awhile, I’m not a coder or a programmer and have made a start in part thanks to this wonderul, sharing community and the ability to cut and paste code, tweak it until I’ve gotten satisfactory results, and combined this with more widely used and sophisticated user-interface driven generative and procedural painting applications like Studio Artist 4.

I didn’t originally expect this to be a quick or short learning curve, and therefore I consider the work so far to be more like digital sketching, works in progress and exploratory in nature. Given that I’m not a coder and so much of the beautiful generative art shown at museums and major exhibitions is produced by so many talented coders, I see the process and form of my work continually being refined over time.





This work combines a number of generative, procedural drawing and algorithmic brush based painting, which means that the the code underlying a brush style modifies and changes in real time depending on variables, such as pen angle, pressure, and mathematical changes that vary “under the hood” while you draw. One could say my work does not fall within the generally supported definition of “generative,” which is to say that it is not done entirely in writing source code using programming languages, databases, data mapping, fractals, chaos theory and an overall aesthetic approach based on concepts of breeding, automatic selection rules and many other factors relating to computational aesthetics. Some of it is, and that work is then merged and layered in with UI-driven computer art software with other work that has been created “manually” with the artist intentionally interceding in the computer’s decision making process, which in many ways would make these images quasi-generative in nature.







Sometime soon I’ll be writing to elaborate on the work going on to give generative software more artist-friendly user interfaces, and what’s available.

And so, part of my exploration here is not just the work itself, much of my intention is to raise questions about exactly what can or can’t be considered generative art, whether the genre can evolve to perhaps include this kind of hybrid work or whether it belongs in a genre of it’s own. At the same time I and other artists are exploring what could be considered processes in digital abstract expressionism, a metaphor that it seems to me fits nicely with the often chaotic, immersive, ever changing nature of generative art. What I often think about is opposed to paint drips, while the medium is digital the process is random, playful and the underlying code creates “algorithm drips.” It may be presumptuous for me to define it as anything, and let others be the judge.




Simon Christen’s “Adrift” – A Love Letter to the Fog of San Francisco and the Bay Area


Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.


Animator, photographer, and filmmaker Simon Christen knows how to bring art and technology together. He’s worked as an animator at Pixar, as a photographer of urban scenes, and director of time lapse films. So even without having met him, and seen his work, I think it’s safe to say that Simon has a gift for storytelling and the visual arts.

Recently Simon set his sights on capturing the fog that Bay Area residents and City dwellers both love and hate. We San Franciscans seem to both adore it’s beauty and cooling mist, and shake our fists when it hangs around too long, overstaying it’s welcome. (Speaking just for myself, after the last week, I’ll be just so happy to see it!) Christen explains how he went about capturing the scenes for this stunning piece of work, also available in 4K resolution! (If you hadn’t heard, 4K HDTV’s are already on the market, at the cost of at least one car.)


“It has been almost 3 years since I released “The Unseen Sea” and I’m excited and proud to share with you my latest project “Adrift”.

“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.


I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.

I hope with my short film I am able to convey the feeling of happiness I felt while I experienced those stunning scenes.


Licensing: Adrift is copyrighted. All of my work is available for licensing under a rights-managed agreement. If you are interested in using any of my images and/or time lapse footage, please visit my website or contact me directly. Most of my clips are available up to 4K resolution! All of them support 2.8K and standard HD resolutions of 1080p/720p. Some of my favorite scenes in the film are also available as high resolution prints.”

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Concepts in Generative Art, Data Art and New Media Aesthetics – Part 1

generative art and aesthetics part 1

by Mark Gould

It seems that the genre of generative art is both growing and becoming more sophisticated every day, and receiving a lot of attention in the art press and in related social networks. But there remains substantial confusion over the term, which I hope to do my part in helping to at least clear up some of the misconceptions and clarify just what is meant by the term and what many generative artists are doing. Needless to say this will be a broad overview and probably the first of several articles on this important genre of mostly, computer related art.

Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist creates a process, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is then set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art.

Philip Galanter




Brian Eno



Marius Watz

Galanter is often quoted and teaches generative art at Texas A&M University, is an artist, theorist and curator. Note that Galanter’s definition stresses that a computer by itself is not essential to generative art, although most of the generative work done these days just so happens to be done on a computer.  Another definition of generative art is work that is derived from a process or processes, often but not strictly by the use of a computer, to define rules by which such artwork are produced. This can include the process of recursion, but generative art should not be viewed as limited only to the principles of recursion. Artists working in many other media, of course, have used recursion in their work for centuries, and while while the mathematic principle of recursion is certainly an aspect of generative art, as both a programmatic and a creative field it is much more robust.


Mark Gould



Mark Knol

Since the term “computer generated” has been around for a long time it may cause some confusion among the general public hearing the term generative – what’s the difference? Isn’t all art created on a computer generative? Well, in a word, no. Simply put, computer generated is different than the concept of generative art, which again, has more to do with the underlying process, usually having to do with code or an algorithm in some repetitive way in the creation of the work. The generative concept has been used for many years before computers in the field of music. The fugues of J.S. Bach could be considered generative, in that there is a strict underlying process that is followed by the composer. Mozart’s Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice Game) was an early example of a generative music system.1 Composers such as John Cage and Brian Eno have used generative systems in their works.

To many of those people both working in the field and who have either theorized about generative art seem to generally agree that the term is at some level conceptually similar to algorithmic art, which is a term that has been around much longer. So have terms like fractal art and now, procedural art. At the same time, a lot of people don’t like to get bogged down in specific terminology. Brian Eno, whose work among others has been fundamental in the fields of ambient arts and generative arts, says, “I try to stress the idea of a drawing that is the result of a collaborative process between me and the machine. Analyzing data to extrapolate data, as it applies to real human relationships, is art as much as science. And it is very specifically a collaborative process between me and the machine. Generative art may hold the clue to effectively using that data; the inspiration for computing processes that solve problems social network analysts don’t yet know that we have. (It may not, but my hypothesis is that is does.)”


Jared Tarbell



It’s an interesting personal footnote that along with a lot of other people discovering computer graphics, art and design in the 1980’s, one of the the joys and realizations I had about the computer as a new tool was the power it had in the ability to allow me to do almost countless iterations on a concept that would have been difficult or nearly impossible with other tools. I felt the same way Eno does about there being a collaborative process between myself and the machine; today, computers are exponentially so much faster the iterative process feels that much more like I’m working through an idea so fast that the computer is suggesting a version or idea I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. What others would far more simply call a happy accident.


It’s been pointed out that this is the era of “Big Data” and while Internet versions 1.o and even 2.o were somewhat static the evolution and ease with which databases can be hooked into a variety of inputs and outputs has made all sorts of new things possible. One of the more “out front” trends in the development of live databases is data visualization. Data visualization is exciting to professionals in any number of fields because of the obvious value it has in being able filter and analyze huge amounts of real time data through some type of user interface designed to visualize that data in a much more sensible way than you ever could by just looking at the data itself. The most widely known type of data visualization might be television election night graphics, and other kinds of data visualization have been used by graphic designers for quite a while now. But now we are experiencing an explosion in this field. In the art world the potential for using data, either real or imagined, as the underlying tool for creative work along with some type of generative process appears to be what is creating this new level of explosive growth in the 21st century going forward.

In upcoming posts, in addition to Brian Eno, I’ll introduce you to the upper echelon of those working, thinking, teaching and writing in the field of generative art. May you live in exciting times!

Marius Watz on: Generative Art, Code and Data as Art and the New Aesthetic


Marius Watz (NO) is an artist working with visual abstraction through generative software processes. His work focuses on the synthesis of form as the product of parametric behaviors. He is known for hard-edged geometrical forms and vivid colors, with outputs ranging from pure software works to public projections and physical objects produced with digital fabrication technology.

Watz has exhibited at venues like the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Todaysart (The Hague), ITAU Cultural (Sao Paulo), Museumsquartier (Vienna), and Galleri ROM (Oslo). He is a lecturer in Interaction Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Watz is also considered to be one of the primary theorists of generative art, what it is and what it could be, analyzing technology, culture and art theory to continually investigate the rapidly evolving generative art aesthetic. He gave this presentation to the Eyeo Festival in 2012; the 2013 Festival is June 5-8 in Minneapolis, MN – full details here.

20120610 A Movement in 3 Parts. (1.Shock & Awe, 2.Algorithm Critique, 3.The New Aesthetic And Its Disco… by Marius Watz

Another generative art pioneer and co-inventor of the Processing media programming language is Casey Reas. His speech to Eyeo 2012 is embedded here, a full list of video recorded presentations from last year’s conference is on Vimeo.

Eyeo2012 – Casey Reas from Eyeo Festival on Vimeo.

Creator’s Project: Interactive Light Installation Brings Media Art Into Real World Experinence


immersive lighting experience

Muti Randolph takes new media and lighting installation technology to bring visual arts literally into a new dimension. In 2013, interactive art installations are exploding out from 2 dimensional containers and  becoming wearable designs or room ambiance or video art experiences.

Step inside Muti Randolph’s interactive light installation Deep Screen at The Creators Project New York Event.

Watch more on Muti Randolph:
The Coachella Dance Tent Transformed:
Designing Total Immersion Experiences:

The Creators Project is a partnership between Intel and VICE:

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Check out our full video catalog:…


VIDEO: World’s Largest Light Sculpture on San Francisco Bay Bridge



(note: the lighting is tonight! March 5th – at 8:30pm, more information at

(BLOUIN ARTINFO:) After more than 75 years in the shadow of its glamorous cousin, San Francisco’s “other” bridge is getting a chance to shine. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been turned into the latest — and by far the biggest — backdrop for New York artist Leo Villareal, who has individually programmed 25,000 white lights spaced a foot apart on 300 of the span’s vertical cables to create what is being billed as the world’s largest illuminated sculpture.


Light In Motion #426



in a series: light – motion – time | abstract photography by Mark Gould

Original is emulsion transfer, acrylics on 300g printmaking paper, 24″ x 36″

Limited edition reproductions for sale