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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
“Grids are emblematic of the array—the fundamental data structure around which all computer hardware and software is built. So, the grid is a natural visual form for computer–based digital art, and the aesthetic implications of this are far-reaching.”
– Generative artist Tyler Hobbs, on the enduring technological relevance of (the often grid-based works of) Agnes Martin. Reflecting on the late American painter in advance of his show “QQL: Analogs,” Hobbes enthuses “her work has taught me to take a closer look.”

Generative art NFT platform fxhash announces a new feature that “enables collectors to collaborate in the creative process.” Entitled fx(params), the functionality allows artists to designate certain parameters (e.g. colour, geometry, velocity) within their code as adjustable for primary market buyers. Instead of leaving an NFT’s appearance entirely to chance, the collector can tweak the artist’s system to their liking before minting their copy (image: fx(params) interface for 1mpo$ter’s Smash, 2023).

“It’s a question of permanence. What will last the longest? What will give me the strongest sense of comfort that a work will exist well beyond my lifetime?”
– Software artist Sarah Ridgley, musing about how the code for her generative piece Nymph, in Thy Orisons (2023) is hosted on the decentralized Arweave protocol for posterity. In a Twitter Space with curator Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, and “Code Chronicles” artists including Maya Man and Lia Something, Ridgley and company delve into the details of their ongoing show at Bitforms.

Marcel Schwittlick’s solo exhibition “Composition #84: The Long Run” opens at SP2 gallery, Berlin, juxtapozing three eponymous plotter drawings with videos documenting their creation. The pieces, each measuring 36 x 115 cm and comprising 2.5 million dots plotted over 23 hours, record the emptying of a collection of 30-year-old vintage felt tip pens, marking the “end of an era.” Eight stripes per plot, drawn with pens of the same colour, yield subtle variations that tell the “unique history of each pen,” notes Schwittlick.

“Code Chronicles” opens at New York’s bitforms gallery, exploring how “generative systems mediate continuity.” Eight artists including Ana María Caballero, Sarah Friend, LIA, Sara Ludy, Maya Man, and Sarah Ridgley riff on themes of perception, impermanence, obscurity, and memory to highlight chance iterations. Friend’s gentle automata (touching grass) (2023, image), for example, pairs a swamp-like moiré of grass images with a touch-sensitive recreation of John Conway’s Game of Life.

“It almost doesn’t matter what the market is doing … if crypto’s down—great—everything’s on sale.”
– Pseudonymous NFT collector and Waiting To Be Signed co-host Trinity, opining that as the “generative art community starts to separate itself from Web3,” the Tezos NFT ecosystem will flourish (“because it’s such a non-financialized chain”)

Chronicling all things amorphous, Zach Lieberman’s An Atlas of Blobs launches. Commissioned by Hong Kong’s M+, an eclectic cast of artists and educators including Ani Liu, Tiger Wong Ho Lun, Ellen Lupton, James Paterson, and Yehrin Tong lend their voices to a whimsical online resource celebrating the eccentric geometry of undulating forms. Captioning a survey of Lieberman’s playful animated sketches, the contributors collectively articulate “a more blobular way of being.”

“Abstain from romanticized post-rationalizations.”
– Software artist Karsten Schmidt, in “Personal Considerations for Creating Generative Art,” an itemized collection of methods and models to aid algorithmic creativity. Not a dogmatist, he notes his suggestions are “fluid, incomplete, and highly subjective.”

DAM Projects Berlin (formerly DAM Gallery) opens Mark Wilson’s solo exhibition “Moveto Lineto,” surveying essential plotter drawings and canvas prints the American digital art veteran has produced over more than three decades. Wilson, a painter who turned to generative software in the 1980s, is known for his recognisable style of layered, densly-meshed geometries. “Indeed, it is hard to imagine creating these works with any other medium,” says Wilson.

“This foundation, which I won’t mention, sent me back a letter saying no, we do not fund computer art, we do not want to have anything to do with computer art. So I applied for grants as a painter, because that’s ultimately what my work is.”
Mark Wilson, on the rejection he and other digital artists faced even in the 1980s
“What if Vera had decided thirty years ago that her art wasn’t selling enough or being shown in the right places and had stopped creating? It would have been a tragic loss for all of us.”
– Digital artist and prolific collector Anne Spalter, acknowledging the tenacity of generative art pioneer Vera Molnar (and other early computer artists) that toiled away in obscurity and are only just receiving recognition

“Ornamental Spaces,” a show featuring vintage works by late computer art pioneer Georg Nees, opens in Berlin. The exhibition showcases Nees’ prescience on two fronts: first, with works from “Bilder Images Digital” (a 1986 exhibition at Munich’s Galerie der Künstler) generated by a Lisp program in response to user questions; secondly, for context, screenprints related to his PhD research on Generative Computergraphik (shown at “Computer Graphics” in Stuttgart, 1965).

Created between summer 2020 and spring 2022, during COVID isolation, Marcel Schwittlick’s plotter drawing series Upward Spiral concludes with an online archive and a show. The 144 cylinders, each penned by a custom-built drawing machine performing continuous spiral motions, contain all possible colour combinations of the solid-paint marker brand used. Whereas the archive compiles all the Spirals in a neat calendar view, the Berlin Bark LAB exhibition presents a selection of ten.

“I’m starting to accept that the 1995-2020 period didn’t happen, and that generative art emerged out of nothingness in 2020 after being dormant for 40-50 years. People keep telling me, so it must be true.”
– Digital artist Marius Watz, decrying widespread amnesia in this current moment of generative (crypto) art. A big reason is “very bad discoverability,” notes fellow aughties innovator Karsten Schmidt. Due to link rot and software obsolescence, most works done in Director, Flash, Processing, and Java in that era are “GONE.”
“Though she used only traditional artists’ tools before working with an electronic computer in 1968, Vera remembers inventing systematic methods for making art from an early age.”
– Art historian Zsofi Valyi-Nagy, revealing rare archival material from generative art pioneer Vera Molnar’s early years in Hungary

A hotspot in the Tezos NFT ecosystem, generative art marketplace fxhash emerges from beta. Version 1.0 boasts more robust architecture and speedier page updating (latency plagued past popular mints), and the new smart contract allows royalty splits between collaborators and Dutch auctions (which gives collectors better access to the primary market and discourages scalpers). “We’ve applied a global layer of polish across the whole website,” the fxhash team notes.

“Kazuo Umezz the Great Art Exhibition,” opens at Tokyo City View. For his career celebration, the manga legend has painted a sequel to his classic Watashi wa Shingo (1982-6) and artist duo exonemo pay tribute; their array of 12 screens mimic the form of panels, displaying infinite randomized scenes “that Shingo would have seen in the comic.” Fittingly, the installation sits in front of a view of the Tokyo Tower, an important site in the comic’s narrative.

For generative artists, it’s the most wonderful time of the year: #genuary. Starting today, thousands of creative coders including Nadieh Bremer, Jess Hewitt, William Mapan, and Frederik Vanhoutte take to social media to share wild geometries forged in Processing, p5js, openFrameworks and other tools, in response to daily creative prompts. Surprises are to be expected: Amy Goodchild, for example, went analog with markers to ‘draw 10,000 of something’ (image). Follow along!

Computational artist Karsten Schmidt proposes a less random NFT minting process, to increase control over generative works. “Instead of a slot-machine ‘mint now’ button collectors get to choose parameters from a pool,” he tweets of his idealized system. Freshly-minted himself, Schmidt’s analysis draws on his first NFT drop (image: De/Frag, 2021). “Once a design trait is exhausted it will be removed by the contract,” he notes, looking out for artists and collectors alike.

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