“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
And 2022 is here...
it's truly remarkable how quickly time has gone and continues to go. Last year, generative art was a small niche group of enthusiasts who appreciate the art form. Now.. well, it's become quite an interesting spectacle, and it will be interesting to see how it continues to play over the next couple of years.
Now for my predictions, these are all thoughts/opinions I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of weeks. But, of course, they are just one man’s opinion and thus take them or leave them. 🙂 There is a bit of me that wants to put many numbers and graphs to emphasize why I think these things, but I won’t bore you here.
Predictions for 2022
The gig economy continues to open avenues for creatives.
This is going to be interesting to see how this plays out. We are continuing to see an economic shift in where value is created. Personally, I think the millennials and Gen-Z don’t want the blue-collar jobs of the world. So, we have seen V1 of this economic renaissance as Air-BnB, Postmates, Instacart, explode and are now the OGs of the gig economy. NFTs and crypto have opened that up for digital artists and content creators (V1 Patreon, Twitch, Youtube, etc.). They will issue a new flood of V2 of the economic renaissance with the rise of the DAOs and the rethinking of revenue/support for creatives.
Generative Art NFTs will continue to be popular.
For better or worse, it will continue to be a strong driver. We will see a lot of noise over the next year as new artists flock in and start their pilgrimage of flow fields, randomness, and color theory. There are many Art blocks clones to pop up, scams in wholesale will continue, art w/ misdirected passion created. This will lead to collectors needing to really understand what they are buying. But as in any gold rush, there will be a lot of demand, so there will be a supply of various qualities from meme art to artistic innovation.
Discussions on Generative Art Critique Will Occur
I think some of the mature practitioners want more. It's wonderful to be “successful,” but there is a longing to create meaningful and continuous innovation in generative art. So we will start seeing further discussions on podcasts and articles trying to identify the movement of 2020 generative art. Some of the questions to be asked art:
What importance does technical skill bring to generative art?
What are the defining aesthetics of good vs. great art?
How do artists balance the drive for capital vs. the art and its process?
How much of the traditional archiving of art is done the traditional way vs. the permanent blockchain (tech only really 4-5 years old)
Artist Driven Smart Contracts Interest will Increase
I am extremely bullish and hopeful for the creative work that will come out of smart contract-based. I think there are a lot of experiences that will bring some inspiring work that will truly separate works from merely pop art to works that will make it into the MOMA.
Display technology will be running at breakneck speeds.
Samsung has announced an NFT platform for their smart TVs; Facebook has rebranded to Meta Platforms. All these shifts to Web3 are evidence that the transition is here to see, and we will see display technologies be a big thing. However, new display ratios and pixel densities will be important next steps that may take a little as the supply whiplash effects limit production worldwide.
DAOs will attempt to become museums of the 21st century.
I think there is some evidence that collections of digital work are well underway. There is a lot of capital flowing into many DAOs. Thus, we will eventually see them start acquiring contemporary art on the blockchain through whatever technology becomes the most reliable. There will be a discussion with traditional channels on how to go from meatspace to digital for all of these things.
This is really a long-shot idea that I think might be possible, it's early, but we see DAOs such as FingerprintsDAO, SquiggleDAO create these interesting collectives around their passions. Thus it wouldn’t surprise me if we’d see something breakout.
Hopes for 2022
Academic Contemporary Art and Home-Grown Generative Educate One Another
There is an opinion spectrum... Some academics are completely anti-NFT and crypto maximalists who scoff at tradition. The traditional art establishments have a meticulous tradition that has been refined over years of hard work to preserve the cultural relics of our societies. And the art establishment will have to face that there are new tastemakers in town. It’s going to be crucial to find the in-betweens
“Homegrown” engineer artists will need to delve into the language of the artist. There is much to learn and understand; the history, context, and purpose are all important to help assign relevance. Art will be qualitative, even though one might want to try to be quantitative. And the established artist communities can always continue, but maybe complementing their revenue streams with a digital presence can help bring more to the world.
Are there academic highbrows and crypto maximalists? Yes, but it will only become better when the past and future dance to tradition and the future.
A continual recognition of the OGs of the field
There are so many wonderful explorers of the art that we need to continue to hold in memory. Their history can inspire how much more work they went through, the obstacles they faced due to “government machines.”
Scientists are explorers of the unknown, just like artists are explorers of the unknown.
Let's make sure that we don’t undercut the artistic side of things. As many generative artists are more technical by nature, we have to be cautious not to overemphasize technical skills over the vision of the art. Complexity can be an expression of emotion.. sometimes, it's the only way a person knows how to express themselves.
As artists, we are searching for meaning, ways to express identity, trauma, emotions, dark secrets, and many visions of the heart.
There is so much to do, so many people I want to meet, so many layers of meaning to explore, which are exciting.
Over the 744 hours of January, every 24 hours there is a new prompt for your code art. You don’t have to follow the prompt exactly. Or even at all. But, y’know, we put effort into this. You can use any language, framework or medium, on any planet. Share your work and tag it with #genuary and #genuary2022.
If you want to start coding, if you stick with it, think about it as a boot camp for generative art. There are always so many fascinating new outputs or sketches by dozens of artists each day in January. I’m always a huge fan as I think it’s a way to express the love for the work and exercise that goes into it.
📸 Generative Graphics
Harvard University students in Cambridge, Massachusetts, today meet in the basement of Memorial Hall for a drink, a bite to eat, and perhaps a jazz concert. But for a generation of some of the most respected leaders in the GIS field, the legacy of the subterranean retreat now known as Loker Commons belongs not to burgers and beer but to computer mapping software.
This is a bit of GIS history and computational data visualization in the early days, which reminded me of some of the earlier works on plotters.
According to Wikipedia, “Dither is an intentionally applied form of noise used to randomize quantization error”, and is a technique not only limited to images. It is actually a technique used to this day on audio recordings, but that is yet another rabbit hole to fall into another time. Let’s dissect that definition in the context of images. First up: Quantization.
This project aims to accurately clone voices given very little data with near-complete human indistinguishability — in particular, 15 seconds of audio data is sufficient to clone a voice to meet human standards. Additional audio data facilitates the synthesis of convincing voices and makes it more difficult for a human to consistently differentiate between ground truth and synthesized voices. As of September 2021, DeepThroat is a significant improvement over every text-to-speech algorithm in existence.
The above site is just another wonderment of generative deep learning, which is yet another push toward using synthesis as a tool in the toolbox of creative coding methods.
NFTs The Next 500 Years
While NFTs have dominated the discourse around art this year, everything about them feels opaque. How to obtain, define, and conserve NFTs are still a confusing matters for many. To get to the bottom of things PAMM’s Director of Digital Engagement will moderate a panel with artist Sofia Crespo, curator Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan, and Art Blocks CCO Jeff Davis. The panel will discuss how NFTs have changed the practice of digital art, where NFTs sit in the broader tradition of digital art, and where this all might be headed.
Coding the Game of Life (shader)
This is the first of two videos about Conways Game of Life. In this video we'll go through the basic concept, some crazy examples of what people have made, and then we code life from scratch!
Created in 1987, GIF remains to be a widely used format for saving short and lightweight animations on the web. Despite many advantages, this file format has a number of limitations. GIFs are restricted to 256 colors palette and lose quality when the complexity of animation increases. Thus, conversion settings have to be played with to balance image quality and file size.
The NFT market has brought attention and money to creative coding, once seen more as a hobbyist activity than a path to a viable art career. In addition to creating new ways of collecting generative art, the blockchain also offers some new ways to make it. The small, cohesive body of work released in the last year by the artist known as DEAFBEEF is entirely on-chain, meaning the code that generates his monochromatic audiovisual compositions is contained within the NFT that the collector purchases; in some of his series, the owners of the NFTs gain permission to change the code and modify the work. Over her twenty-five year career LIA has experimented with generative processes in every medium imaginable, from interactive websites and live concert visuals to plotter drawings and 3D printed sculptures. She recently released her first on-chain project through the Art Blocks platform. DEAFBEEF and LIA met to talk about what their seemingly disparate practices have in common, as well as the misconceptions held by many who are encountering generative art for the first time.
LA artist Katy Ann Gilmore, who I’ve been obsessively following on Instagram for quite some time now because I can’t get enough of everything triangles, is blowing up. She earned her BA in Mathematics, Art, and Spanish from Greenville College in Greenville, IL and an MFA in Visual Art from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA. Her work is unique in that she takes a lot of inspiration from her background in mathematics and merges it with both nature and art, resulting in intricate drawings that exist in their own space.
5 Techniques for Generative Music
In this video, Andrew Huang uses a modular synth to explain how hardware can create generative music. In addition, it gives a nice overview of what it means for music to be generative.
It's a smaller library, but it's fun to play with.
Award-winning geographer-designer team James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti transform enormous datasets into rich maps and cutting-edge visualizations. In this triumph of visual storytelling, they uncover truths about our past, reveal who we are today, and highlight what we face in the years ahead. With their joyfully inquisitive approach, Cheshire and Uberti explore happiness levels around the globe, trace the undersea cables and cell towers that connect us, examine hidden scars of geopolitics, and illustrate how a warming planet affects everything from hurricanes to the hajj. Years in the making, Atlas of the Invisible invites readers to marvel at the promise and peril of data, and to revel in the secrets and contours of a newly visible world.
I love data and maps, and I generally found this resource to be a great inspiration for exploring a new and love idea.