Computer Art: Weavesilk

This week, I was inspired by Laponsky’s work with oscillography. His works were so simple yet visually stimulating and appealing:

Oscillon 3’, Ben Laponsky (obtained from Lecture 8 slides)
Oscillon 3’, Ben Laponsky
(obtained from Lecture 8 slides)

It reminded me of a website that a friend had shown me my freshman year called weavesilk.com.  I decided to have a little fun and create some images/patterns on this website and here are some of them:

Fiery Geometric Pattern
Fiery Geometric Pattern

 

Snowflake
A snowflake-like design

 

BUtterfly
Butterfly

 

CreepyTiger
An animal of some sorts

What’s cool about these images is that they are incredibly easy to make and you can almost never go wrong. Any movement of the mousepad on the website has a good chance of generating a visually appealing image. It is important to note that all of the images I made on Weavesilk were technically not made by me alone. It was a combination of my controlled movements of the mouse pad with the mathematical algorithms encoded into this website that produce the layered symmetry in these images.

As I was looking at some of Laponsky’s work as well as making the images above on Weavesilk, I found myself asking: Who is the artist? Is it the computer? Or the person behind the computer? Can this be called art?

I think these are valid questions, as the images I made above were incredibly easy to make thanks to the mathematical algorithms encoded in the program generating these images. Of course other forms of computer art may require more from the “artist” but it seems as if the computer does a lot of the work for you. What would be the brushstrokes of an artist are the impersonal, controlled lines and curves of a mathematical algorithm.

Laponsky addressed questions like the one above

Objections are sometimes made that this and other kinds of computer art are ‘machine art’—cold, impersonal, even inhuman. In some cases this may appear to be so, but it is obvious that the machines or instruments that form them are the products of imagination and planning, and at some previous initial point, the work of human hands. The output is conceived and controlled by human intelligence, and the results evaluated by personal aesthetic standards. If the computer is to produce art, it seems to me that the ability for it to do so must be programmed into it.

Laponsky, 1975 Cherokee, Iowa

Ultimately, I agree with Laponsky; I think computer art is art. The medium is the computer or the geometric/mathematical algorithms behind what is producing the figures and designs. The word computer in computer art credits the computer as the medium through which an artist generates a design. It still requires the input and creativity of the artist to create an aesthetically pleasing image.

-Connie Paik

 

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