Geek Art

Technology has revolutionized modern art. Today, even revolutionary contemporaries like Warhol seem to belong more with modern classics like Picasso or Munch. That’s because modern installations immerse us with media-rich (sometimes interactive) abstractions and realisms. It’s easier than ever for an artist to shoot, edit, and produce a video; artists now can easily make digital sounds previously unheard by human ears. And as the cost of these technologies fall, the frequency of their implementation increases.

It’s appropriate that modern art is increasingly digital since our lives are as well. We socialize on social networks instead of bars or homes. We text instead of talk. We have on-line girlfriends and cyber sex. We LOL and LMAO instead of laughing; we <3 instead of loving.

Our memories live in the sub-folders of our file-systems as digitized media: images, audio, video… Our minds as ascii representation on blogs, e-walls, and comments.

Although it may not seem like it, my commentary is more observational than judgemental. Perhaps it’s natural (after all it comes so easy); perhaps it’s better. After all, who’s to say that LOL is any less of an emotional experience than laughing out loud? Or that a cyber-lover is any less in love? Who knows.

This gave me an idea for a design. I wanted to represent this digitization graphically by using some simple algorithms to take human-readable patterns (such as words in my first set) and showing it as a pattern–how it may be stored on a machine or viewed by an alien. In this piece I include the original (human-readable) representation, the code behind the algorithm, and the graphic result. In this way, the algorithm used to create the art becomes art itself–a cyclic statement.

I hope that this series reminds people that while our digital footprint may indeed live forever, it is nothing but noise (perhaps not random) when looked from a third perspective. Another ode to existentialism.

 Hamlet Digitized

This piece uses the words of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in act 3 as data to generate the graphics. It turns each character into an ascii code and then renders the value in a orthographic bar  (the two colours represent two different values). The result is a unique graphical fingerprint of that piece; all of the data (each box) exists in the original SVG so it would be possible to decode the original text. The algorithm used to generate the graphic is placed below to reinforce Hamlet’s digitization.


Technical details: It’s simple javascript that I used to create an SVG (in this case it’s Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in act 3). I used Node.js and express.js to generate the actual files.  I’m hoping to eventually create an interactive gallery where you can “digitize” your own life.

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