Review of CHANCE & CONTROL at the V&A

Installation view of Chance and Control at the V&A, showing early and mid-period drawings by Harold Cohen

Read my review in Studio International of the new display of computer art at the Victoria & Albert Museum London – Chance and Control: Art in the age of Computers and learn of the remarkable diversity of the V&A’s collection and how it has grown from early beginnings in just ten years.  Among many things of interest here are three fabulous works by Harold Cohen from his early, mid and later period.  Exhibition on now until 18 November 2018.

Lecture – Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

Come to my forthcoming lecture in Dundee –

‘A huge space of endless predetermined possibilities’: Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

On 8 November 6pm, I’m thrilled to be going to the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum to talk about how the writing of code has been used to draw since digital computing technology became accessible to artists from the mid-1960s.  This year is the 100th anniversary of D’Arcy W Thompson’s book On Growth and Form (1917) which had a formative influence on the pioneers of algorithmic art.

William Latham muta6, 2014 (detail)

In this talk we will learn how complex and visually arresting imagery often comes from surprisingly simple sets of instructions. We will discover that the use of the computer offers ‘a huge space of endless predetermined possibilities.’ (William Latham, artist)

Co-organised with the Abertay Historical Society as part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival supported by Creative Scotland.  Book your ticket here

Morphogenetic Creations

Andy Lomas Morphogenetic Creations, 2016 Installation view
Andy Lomas Morphogenetic Creations, 2016 Installation view

Andy Lomas’s new solo exhibition at Watermans, (until 21st July) provides a perfect opportunity to see his complete vision.  From framed prints and moving image animations to 3D printing, Lomas explores the aesthetics of biology inspired by the theories of Alan Turing and D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson.  Based on his cellular growth model, he creates intriguing, uncannily beautiful shapes with the feel of living organisms.  The quality of and detail in this work is superb, I urge everyone to see this wonderful show.

 

Antony Gormley uses the iPad

Art Everywhere 2014 –

Anthony Gormley, Feeling Material, courtesy of Art Everywhere 2014
Antony Gormley, Feeling Material, courtesy of Art Everywhere 2014

the people who put posters in public places around city centres of famous art works (voted for by the public), have commissioned Antony Gormley to produce this drawing.  Created by the artist using the stylus in one continuous motion on an iPad, Gormley says, “I’ve never drawn on an iPad before and was thinking should I draw on a blackened piece of glass? Then I thought this is really stupid, we’ve got this extraordinary facility that everybody knows about [..] so why don’t I give it a try?”

I think the end result is really quite fun. Only time will tell if this marks a new direction for this veteran of the British art establishment. Antony Gormley tells me that for several years he’s been using the digital as tools – all his sculptures start ‘life’ in the computer. 3D scans of his body facilitates manipulation of forms digitally, giving countless permutations and allowing valuable feedback. He also uses 3D printers. A new way of approaching the maquette?

You can see the work, which also consists of the animation of its creation, on digital screens nationwide including Piccadilly Circus & Manchester’s Trafford Centre, supported by the The Art Fund. Downloads and limited edition prints are available.

Form and Number

Daniel Brown, screenshot from series On Growth and Form, real-time 3D, 2013.  Collection of the University of Dundee, copyright the artist, reproduced with permission.
Daniel Brown, screenshot from series On Growth and Form, real-time 3D, 2013. Collection of the University of Dundee, copyright the artist, reproduced with permission.

This month my BCS column investigates an interesting commission from the University of Dundee Museum

Services who have been working with theArt Fund on a £100,000 project to explore the influence of Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson in the visual arts. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Dundee Collections and the Thompson connection, this grant funding has uniquely facilitated the creation of an art work itself with an interdisciplinary concept at its heart – On Growth and Form by Daniel Brown. Read the full article here: http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/50050

Kaleidoscopic Calculations

Herbert W Franke, Intarsien7024Var1, 2012.  Generated with a digital picture-generator named �Intarsia�, programmed with the software system Mathematica for the �Demonstration Project� of Stephen Wolfram.  Copyright the artist, reproduced with permission.
Herbert W Franke, Intarsien7024Var1, 2012. Generated with a digital picture-generator named Intarsia, programmed with the software system Mathematica for the Demonstration Project of Stephen Wolfram. Copyright the artist, reproduced with permission.

This month, to compliment the previous two discussions of Manfred Mohr
and Ernest Edmonds in my monthly BCS column, we feature new work by another of the great pioneers of algorithmic art – Prof. Herbert Franke. I am especially honored to be able to share with you the first sight of one of his new graphics from the series
Intarsia, a striking art work which demonstrates his interest in complex patterns and seems to pulsate with kaleidoscopic qualities. Full article here: http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/49847

Colour Computation

Ernest Edmonds, Shaping Space, 2012.  Copyright the artist, reproduced with permission.
Ernest Edmonds, Shaping Space, 2012. Copyright the artist, reproduced with permission.

For over forty years Ernest Edmonds has had an interest in interactivity and his current
exhibition at Site Gallery Sheffield demonstrates a career-long conversation between drawing, painting and computer-based work. Ernest is our BCS featured artist of the month, read about Shaping Space here: http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/49266

Here I am enjoying Ernest’s show which continues until 2 February.CM at Site Gallery

Digital Dolly Mix

Dario Lanza, Watersun Vision number 04, C-print, unique, 120x100cm, 2012

My article for the British Computer Society this month is a selection submitted by readers of this column and members of the Computer Arts Society. The high standard and sheer variety of works produced under what might be termed computer art , never ceases to amaze me and if you are as intrigued as I am to discover what your colleagues and fellow aficionados of the computational process have produced over the course of 2012, then don’t miss it : http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/49107  See new work by Richard Colson, Anabela Costa, Dario Lanza (featured above), Fabrizio Poltronieri, Brian Reffin Smith and Andrew Welsby.

Remembering Alan Turing

Craig Morrison and Joel Cockrill, Thank You, an artwork dedicated to Alan Turing. blinc Festival, 2012. Copyright the artists, reproduced with permission.

Alan Turing Year 2012 continues apace with a variety of events inspired by the great contribution made by the mathematician and code breaker to the history of computer science and modern biology. For this month’s BCS column, we’re featuring the work of artists/curators Craig Morrison and Joel Cockrill who have been commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales to produce a laser and light installation honouring Turing’s life and legacy. Appropriately entitled Thank You, Craig and Joel’s piece will be shown at theblinc digital arts festival in Conway, North Wales, and is a thanks on behalf of the media arts world, based on the very digital materials that Turing helped to invent. According toTuring’s biographer, Turing believed in the survival of the spirit after death. Perhaps he was right; here we are remembering him nearly sixty years after his death, his legacy surrounding us in the ever-present technology we use every day. Read the full article here: http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/48180

Also recommended is this lecture on Turing by Cambridge historian Professor Christopher Andrew, who argues that it is no surprise that Turing’s great legacy has been overlooked: no other country other than our own great country has the ability to hide its secrets as we do. The belief that for 30 years after WWII it was necessary to keep the fact that Turing invented the world’s first computer a secret, meant that two generations of students grew up thinking that the single most important invention of the 20th & 21st centuries the computer was American.