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Posts Tagged ‘recursion’

Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art
Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art cropped version.
Click the image to see the uncropped version.
The original artwork is 30 by 30 inches printed at 300ppi.

What could be the first in a series of algorithmic artworks, Ambient Recursion was created using a programming technique known as recursion. Note that the image above has been cropped to fit the screen. To see the complete artwork, click on the cropped image above. A new window will open revealing the complete artwork. Note that a full size excerpt from the center of the artwork is displayed at the bottom of this post. Once you’ve viewed the uncropped image, it will be clear that while the artwork is strongly symmetrical, it is not perfectly symmetrical. I find that by avoiding perfect symmetry, the image becomes more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

The programming language I used for this work was the Processing programming language. The most challenging part of writing this Processing program was in getting the recursion to perform as I wanted it to – especially with respect to screen boundary conditions.

Because I used a random factor to determine which sub-functions would be called, which in turn influenced the depth of recursion, I found that much of the drawing was being done off-screen – or so I guessed when viewing the program’s output. To get a handle on just where the drawing was happening, I replaced the drawing commands with print commands that dumped out the x,y coordinates and other supporting parameters for every shape being drawn.

This problem solving tactic proved to be most useful as it led me to reevaluate the entire drawing process. If I could dump the coordinates and associated parameters of every shape to a print file, why not write them to a Java arrayList and then draw using the data stored in the list. While the principal benefit of this approach was in insuring that every rectangle would appear within the canvas, it also provided me with the opportunity and ability to manipulate the relationships between the shapes. This was a true case of serendipity.

The second most challenging aspect was in coming up with a title. Given the nature of the image and the fact that I was listening to a collection of ambient music by Brian Eno while developing and writing the program used to create this artwork, the title Ambient Recursion was a natural choice.

While I have not yet added Ambient Recursion to my gallery of artworks here on Artsnova, I have made it available on Redbubble.

Ambient Recursion Algorithmic Art on Redbubble

Ambient Recursion Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Case


Ambient Recursion full size excerpt Case
A full size excerpt from the center of the artwork.


What is Recursion?

Using the definition from Geeks for Geeks, recursion is:

The process in which a function calls itself directly or indirectly is called recursion and the corresponding function is called as recursive function. Using recursive algorithm, certain problems can be solved quite easily. Examples of such problems are Towers of Hanoi (TOH), Inorder/Preorder/Postorder Tree Traversals, DFS of Graph, etc.

For more about recursion, see the Wikipedia definition for Recursion (computer science)

And remember…

To iterate is human, to recurse divine.
L. Peter Deutsch


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The Art Exhibit, Art Gallery, Art Talk, and Algorithmic Art Tutorial

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Artist Mark Rothko and selected art works
Artist Mark Rothko and selected art works

It has been a busy week for me on the art front. The week began with my installation of nine of my art works at the Buehler YMCA in Palatine IL. Buehler YMCA is the second largest YMCA in Illinois with some 17,000 members. My art will be on display there through the end of the year. Art Exhibit at Buehler YMCA.

I delivered three of my space art works to the Paper Crown Gallery in Arlington Heights, IL. This soon to open gallery has a large exhibit space with a business plan that is not typical of other art galleries. Given the timing of the gallery’s opening – in the face of the threat of a double-dip recession – their novel business plan may be a recipe for success.

I attended the lecture Seeing Red: The Art and Life of Mark Rothko presented by art historian Jeff Mishur. The lecture title fragment "Red" is from the title of the Tony Award-winning play Red currently showing at the Goodman Theater. With respect to the lecture, while it provided biographical background on Rothko, the emphasis was on the development of Rothko’s signature painting style. So yes I spent the evening looking at lots of paintings of colored rectangles (see the image illustrating this post above). Frankly Rothko’s style has never appealed to my sense of aesthetics. The play Red at the Goodman Theater.

I also added a tutorial on using recursion to create algorithmic art to my web site. I used the Processing platform for the tutorial and provide the source code. This tutorial is an expanded version of a tutorial I wrote earlier this year which was published in CMD Journal. Tutorial: Recursion and Algorithmic Art Using Processing

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Tutorial on Recursion Published in CMD Journal

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

CMD Journal cover
CMD (Computational Media Design) Journal cover

This spring it occurred to me to write an article about recursion for my Artsnova web site. I must confess that I really haven’t put any of my recursively created algorithmic art on my web site or made it available for sell but as a programming artist, I find the concept of recursion fascinating. The principal interest for me is in the creation of the program that creates the art. In other words, what excites and interests me most is the act of creating the recursive algorithm. The article/tutorial was to be one in a three part serious about the three "R’s" of algorithmic art: Random Numbers, Recursion, and Repetition. The tutorials were to be written using the Processing platform rather than C++ as Processing seems to have broader appeal to programming artists and is simpler to learn for people new to the field.

Shortly after completing the recursion tutorial I learned of a new magazine being published: CMD (Computational Media Design) Journal. From the CMD Journal website comes the following description of the publication:

We are interested in the exploration of the intersections of art, design and computer science to encourage new ways of seeing, thinking and creating in order to empower and inspire inventive, innovative and creative research, artistic and design practices.

CMD Journal is an educational magazine about computational media design. The magazine was started by Marjan Eggermont and Laurel Johannesson in 2010 both to learn more about and to become a forum for this relatively new field.

Rather than publishing the article/tutorial on my web site, I decided to submit it to CMD Journal. I’m pleased to say that my submission was accepted and appears in issue 2 of the magazine, which is now available online.

Click here to access the current issue of CMD Journal

I did have to do some trimming of the tutorial in order to have it fit within the submission word limit. Now on my long list of to-do items is an entry to create an expanded version of the tutorial to use for my three "R’s" of algorithmic art set of tutorials.

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