Drawings from Small Beginnings

Drawings from Small Beginnings

Hans Dehlinger (Universität Kassel, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0942-6.ch014


Small, densely arranged elements in large numbers are frequently observed phenomena in nature. The author uses an arbitrarily chosen stretch of landscape, a dry riverbed, to formulate artistic intentions and design programmed interpretations of them. From the database of recorded findings the author formulates concepts, which then transform into programs to generate drawings. Many different programs can satisfactorily assist in this task. The conceptual formulation is a crucial step in the procedural chain for attempts in generative art. This chapter experimentally addresses the formulation of a few concepts inspired by nature, aimed at generating line drawings executed on pen-plotters. Unlike in science and engineering, a piece of code does not produce a solution to a problem for concepts in generative art. Generative drawings are produced through a structured process including a sequence of discrete procedural steps, which are: finding and recording; concept and transformation; programming and testing; and drawing and interpretation.
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Transforming Phenomena In Nature Into Programs For Generative Drawings

Constraints Imposed

Our approach for constructing drawings is purposefully constrained on the grounds of artistic reasoning and from a self-restriction stemming from the generative approach we follow: the resulting drawings are realized on pen-plotters. We convert a computer-generated image into a line drawing with a physical pen, which is guided by a program controlled and driven algorithmically by a mechanical device rather than by the skilled hand and imagination of an artist. Refraining from all enhancements is a deliberate decision, which opens up a specific line-oriented window of expression where subtle differences significantly contribute to the quality of an image. These decisions, which seem to be limiting at the first impression, have certain desirable effects. For example, pencil-drawn lines cross differently than printed lines, and a pen, which partially fails to perform under high speedi and acceleration when guided by a mechanical device, can add something like a context-sensitive fingerprint to each generated line. A range of such effects imprints special characteristics and distinctly recognizable features on the generative drawings. And they are, of course, artistically wanted properties.

Procedural Steps

We have chosen to use the metaphor of a hike as a starting point. The realization of generative drawing of the imagined hike will be structured by a sequence of discrete procedural steps which are: finding and recording; concept and transformation; programming and testing; and drawing and interpretation.

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