Debugging

https://elputnam.github.io/Debugging/

I have finally made the jump and started with 3D. I was trying to create a Mobius strip in reference to the Mobius Artists Group, which I have been part of since 2009. I did not anticipate the challenge of producing this digital object, though managed to find some code to adapt in the Processing Forum (GLV and Mcintyre). I continued my explorations of the 3D, with the introduction of the Z-axis changing my overall sense of how this virtual space functions. The fluttering swarm brought to mind images of insects, hence the title debugging.

Debugging is proving to be a creative process, as I come up against the limits of what the computer is able to do. These moments is when the digital feels most like a material — a medium of constraints that I mold to realize artistic intentions as my intentions modify in conjunction with the capacities and limits of the medium.

Paper Flowers

https://elputnam.github.io/PaperFlowers/

I continue to work with the grid theme, adapting code from the Wireframe sketch. The pink overlaying shapes, or what loosely take the form of flowers, is adapted code from the shape example presented in the Generative Design book. The combination of pseudorandomness with user interaction has been an ongoing aspect of exploration throughout this project. Computer as collaborator or co-performer, enabling what artist and technologist Amelia Winger-Bearskin describes as being able “to do things that I couldn’t do by myself and being able to collaborate with machines meant that I could do things I do poorly faster and then do things that machines do poorly better.” I have never been good as drawing or painting, but working in code enables me to compose in a 2D space without a camera. Computers, at least at this stage, are only capable of doing what they are programmed to do, so I invite the capacity to engage with the computer as an aesthetic encounter (via Simondon), introducing a pause into the interaction with the interface.

Atom Riverbed

https://elputnam.github.io/AtomRiverbed/

I make interfaces messy, leaving traces of entropy as afterimages of gesture. This sketch is more of a doodle, combining aspects of previous sketches. It is a means to pass the time while making; to adapt, combine forms and colours in different ways, and just see what happens.

As part of this process, I have come to treat the internet browser as my medium, which I did not intend when I started. I thought I would be creating animations and videos as I was before, but a technical constraint of p5.js (the limited capacity to save frames) shifted my process and output. I am aware that there is a library to assist with recording videos, though I am letting this project take me where it goes. I think net.art is an incomplete project, usurped by apps and UX design. There is still so much room for critical play.

Expanded Present

https://preview.p5js.org/fleshcircuit/present/_OpCkhFLP

I started this sketch adapting Dan Shiffman’s repeller example from the Nature of Code. I am interested in capturing qualities of action and reaction, and this example represents it well. I made a number of modifications, such as having the repeller move along the x-axis along with the mouse/touchpad and the qualities of movements of the particles. I added a grid as well, though making it appear at a slower interval than the framerate. I tried experimenting with giving it a more cyclical form, though that one was quite chaotic. Even though I refer to these as sketch of the day, it took me two days to work this one out. Some of the challenge is creating distinctive animations, but also as these sketches get more complex it takes longer to work them out, including debugging.

Glib Drive (Biometric Version)

https://elputnam.github.io/GlibDrive/

I have not been posting much lately in terms of the daily sketches because I have been working to prepare four sketches (Viral Time, Peat Bramble, Tether, and Glib Drive) for public presentation. This process has involved adding text and buttons to move between pages, as well as integrating biometric data in Glib Drive. I downloaded data from my FitBit, which I acquired in 2020 during the first period of lockdown in Ireland, and have set it up so one day is selected as random. The heart rate data for this day is used to determine the hue of the rotating rectangles. I compliment this with the hue changes of the circles controlled by the mouse/touchscreen. That way, it becomes an asynschronous performance between myself and the audience.

The production of this piece involved a number of challenges, including a timing issue that impacted the functonality of the site and enabled me to become more familiar with Javascript. Since I needed to preload the list of file names and could not select a file name until after p5.js was running, the loading of the JSON file was moved to setup. However, the data did not upload prior to the draw loop (Javascript is an asynchronous language), and the sketch couldn’t run unless it was. After spending some time debugging and identifying the issues with Gerald Glynn, I tried to brainstorm ways around it. I realise there would probably be a way to introduce a loop that delays the start of the sketch until the data is uploaded, but instead I built this delay into the design of it. I set up a delay of about 200 frames after the start of the sketch (time is treated in terms of frame count in Processing) , before the rotating rectangles appeared, which need the data to function. I synchronized their appearance with the text, again drawing attention back to time and how we experience it using digital technologies.

Displacement

Displacement: A Poetic Meditation on Performance, Time, and Virtual Connections

Click the image above to begin.

Warning: contains flashing images.

Broad Pixie

https://elputnam.github.io/BroadPixie/

I have not created many sketches where the images are trying to represent something in particular — I tend to lean towards the abstract. This started with wanting to create honey comb, though I was using a model of not overlapping circles by Daniel Shiffman in his YouTube series Coding Train. However, the hexagon shape did fit together as anticipated. To make this more precise would involve some more work with trigonometry.

Computer models are innately abstractions of what they are modeling. There are ways to create more realistic models, involving mathematical abstractions of phenomenon. However, I am more interested in the visual impacts of the designs and how they provoke/engage gestural interaction. Sometimes a resemblance of representation may drive a sketch, inform how it develops, though I do not strive for verisimilitude.

Time is glitchy

https://editor.p5js.org/fleshcircuit/present/3D6dOIPuR
I have an ambivalent relationship with text when it comes to producing art. I find text to be quite loaded and can easily dominate a work, though as I prepare the first public iteration of the project, I know text is going to be necessary. Even though I have been working with Processing for years, this is my first foray into its text and typography functions. I find myself continuing to work against principles of UX design, where I am not just trying to solve problems, but pose questions through my process. Though not evident in this sketch, I am sketching out types of navigation and menus that are evocative of early net.art, but have been rejected in mainstream web design due to the obscurity they introduce.

Peat Bramble

https://elputnam.github.io/PeatBramble/

I have returned to the grid as a base form, though I have begun experimenting with lerpColor() as a means of combining colours, as opposed to just randomly selecting hues within a range. The pixel array is the same from Scarce Burst, though with the squares enlarged to make them stand out more against the changing background. As with the previous sketch, the emitter is the location of the mouse / tap on touchscreen. I am also working on different indicators of time by dividing the framerate. I find my process to be more visually driven — alter the code to get a particular output — rather than led by just the code. The gesture is that space between.

Dent Petroleum

https://elputnam.github.io/DentPetroleum/

This sketch started with an adaptation from one of the colour palette sketches in Generative Design, adjusted to change automatically and other slight modifications. I added the circles as a geometric contrast, though the layering ripples works well with the build up of colour blocks. Typically I have worked with colour palettes derived from images, as with the hues of grief in An Invitation, though this is my first foray in colour generation without source material.