Digital Art As An Edge: The Unbeings
“The world is only an edge. Memory is the closest thing we have to the machine, and to the worldless. The future precedes the past; memory is the future disembodied. There is to the worldless an anti-dependence the opposite of the interdependence we find down and in here. An absence of connection.” – ‘The Worldless’, 2007
“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”- Buckminster Fuller
In trying to connect myself to creating digital art able to convey intimations of new, sentient machine species to come, extensive experimentation with pixel art technqiues has proven invaluable and productive.
According to Wikipedia, “Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of software, where images are edited on the pixel level. The majority of graphics for 8-bit and 16-bit computers and video game consoles, as well as other limited systems like graphing calculators, is pixel art.”
Vector art , an aspect of the same processes, is created using vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, and lately with phone apps. Such programs use mathematic equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, and scalable infinitely, without loss of quality or fidelity.
As is often the case with retrofuturistic art, 8bit and vector art – rooted in and often related to 80s computer game graphics – can be perceived as cheesy and outdated. Thing is, nothing is more anthropomorphic than our relationship to our technology. Projection makes the intrinsically neutral products of our conscious manipulations appear to us on a timeline, rather in the perpetual limbo they come from and inhabit.
Digital Art: Challenge and Inspiration
“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.” – John Lasseter
‘The Wordless’, a stream of consciousness piece I wrote ten years ago, explored the qualities of the intelligent machine. Before that I had already been fascinated by the idea of “unbeings”. I described them as “life forms beyond existence and the existent, anti-beings, empty energy forms, figures in and of space…quantum shapes.”
It wasn’t until I began using 8bit Photo Lab for Android that I found the perfect tool for expressing what in words had eluded me: a full-bodied rendering in spirit and essence of what these “unbeings” might be. (Are?) Symmetry and simplicity: the binary mantra of the “unbeings”. And in the “pixel burn” crucible of creation – not even Burroughs‘ “minutes to go”, but seconds – churning up from the chip, miracles of accuracy. If “unbeings” look like anything then they look like this:
Mind, Machine and Muse
“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work . . . all planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.” – Sol LeWitt
The machine likewise functions by its numbers. In Zen it is asked, “What was your original face before you were born?” The machine has neither face nor birth. It is built, not born. It knows no superior; its context is shifted from that spectrum. We find a superior in God, and that can be satisfying, but the machine place cannot be better than we are, because we do not belong in it. Our relationship with “God” must be tenuous and strained. How much more is it to be tested by the worldless, the disinhabited, beyond desolated richness of absence within the intelligent machine?
Through our contact with the machine we become excited by the presence in principle of the worldless. There is a sense of stateless – I mean, without state, as in hot and cold, frozen and thawed – contentment, a settling of the energy into communion, computation…coldness. We can forgive ourselves through the machine, it understands us. It’s highly counterintuitive that machines can be so empathic. There again, electricity and emptiness run though us both. Positioned in parallel, two engines of a future when the stars are counted with greater exactitude.
“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
The interplay of mind, machine and Muse – machine as Muse, too – is generative art at its best. Technology in the body is the next big thing; it’s already happened in the mind. Mediated by technology, where do I begin and end? Is the space within we inhabit with our technology the real odyssey of the 21st century?
“Whatever prestige the bourgeoisie may today be willing to grant to fragmentary or deliberately retrograde artistic tentatives, creation can now be nothing less than a synthesis aiming at the construction of entire atmospheres and styles of life. . . . A unitary urbanism — the synthesis we call for, incorporating arts and technologies — must be created in accordance with new values of life, values which we now need to distinguish and disseminate. . . .” – Gil J Wolman
Jeremy Gluck primarily focuses on capturing a snapshot of human consciousness through the utilisation of digital meme.He seeks to explore the traditional hierarchy of how art is perceived. His most recent work reflects the powerful dichotomy,which exists between the narcissism of the digital age and the need for a stark commentary on the post-millennial landscape.Through the utilisation of a raw typography and a monochromatic palette, Gluck invites the audience to consume less and engage more, therefore negating the idea of art having a literal presence.