Glass wall, glass ceiling
Post #757 • March 21, 2006, 11:53 AM • 82 Comments
From a strangely unlinked article in the March 2006 Wired on Joshua Davis:
He's routinely compared to Pollock, who lived at the other end of Long Island and came up with a whole new approach to painting. It's tough not to compare the two - unhealthy attachment to mind-altering substances, bristling persona, studio barns, unorthodox technique. Davis isn't a fan of Pollock's work, but he admits that he's an artistic descendant.
"Pollock showed that there was beauty in randomness," he says. "There was chance, because the brush he used to drip the paint was above the surface of the canvas. It's a good start. I'm going to take that idea further: The painting is never the same from one second to the next."
Pollock's work succeeded because it stopped in interesting places, to paraphrase Ad Reinhardt. Would it still succeed if it had kept going? Davis's works, like most computer-generated art, are technically fascinating. Visually, they're lava lamps - pretty shapes flowing around randomly on the other side of the glass.
It bothers me, because in theory you ought be able to make good art out of anything. Why does the computer generated work fall short, even at its best? Moving abstract shapes should be as compensating as still ones. They're not, though. That glass wall is in the way, and it's stopping the work somehow. If only we could reach in, pull it out, and give it eight feet of space to roam in. That could be amazing.
There's a cool language called Processing that's on my To Learn list, along with Blender, as well as enough other stuff to take up three lifetimes. There are some mind-blowing tools out there. Maybe it all just needs time, and cheaper components. How to close that gap so that computer-generated art really does get its Pollock?