Thoughts on NFTs, Algo-music and Processes

#020- Generative Arts Weekly

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"Creativity is a synthesis of two qualities: imagination and concreteness." - Pearl Zhu

As NFTs are all the rage, I thought I might lay out my thoughts and maybe inspire more conversation and thoughts. So I've intended this to be considered in small chunks.

  • I love the fact that the non-centralized infrastructure brings transparency to the masses.

  • I'm not too fond of the idea that we could be speeding up CO2 shot into the environment due to the blockchains' additional electrical consumption.

  • I love the ability to see regular people make millions; I mean, who doesn't love a pauper to prince story.

  • I worry about the "blitzkrieg" or gold rush that every artist/collector has to make it big, knowing many will be disappointed.

  • I love technology to turn over entire industries; It helps distribute wealth to everyone.

  • I'm concerned with fear-mongering by charged environmental activism and complacent climate denial.

  • I love that innovation continues to provide new ways of wealth.

  • I'm concerned that simply talking about climate change and not using our own human ingenuity can cause an innovation recession.

At the end of the day, it comes down to being thoughtful about consumption and how we are to contribute to the future.

So I ask myself these two questions:

Do I use my means to support sustainable technology and innovation?
Do I gain the knowledge necessary to make a dent in sustainable technology?

Much to consider, but much to be excited about in this space. I’d love to figure out how we might continue to use the new resources created by blockchain to involve new startups that are working on new sustainable technologies. If you have any resources on where that might be happening let me know!

👏 Next Week! 👏

Generative Music and Alda w/ Dave Yarwood

I'll be releasing another discussion with Dave Yarwood about generative music and his DSL Alda on the Youtube channel. Check out his work and projects he has been working on his site.

I've enjoyed these conversations and will continue to keep doing them so let me know if you are up for a conversation.

Weekly Inspirations (Cryptoart Edition)

This last week has been full of learning and working with the NFT platform Hice-Et-Nunc which has been a blast not only to see the exploding amount of experimenting that the platform has had in the past two weeks. There has been much conversation about several questions all over the socials, so I just wanted to highlight a few of them. I'm still in the process of reading up on the various platforms, getting test accounts to try them out, and will eventually try to collate all of that information into a repo (I've created one) and will continue to add to it. If you want to contribute, just read the contributing document, and let’s see if we can keep track of it all.

And if you want, here is my profile as well if you want to take a look. This is definitely an interesting time, and I am excited about where we will go with this whole thing in the future.

🖌️ Unconventional Media

It's Patterned Plywood time again! This time I'm working on a bunch of patterns based on the Hexagon. They may look complicated, but I guarantee they are easier to make than you think. Also, it's a great way to use up the scrap plywood you don't know what to do with.

I've found this to be rather inspiring as the techniques used to create patterned plywood move over into the digital world when creating patterns in the generative art space. Much of this will be a bit more automatic once it is programmed, but the concept from this video has a bit of inspiration on how you might replicate it in the digital space.

📸 Generative Graphics

Hommage Reaction-Diffusion

The following couple of videos are my way of enjoying the wonderful videos of how reaction-diffusion has been used in so many different ways in the past couple of years. Some of these videos are really short, but they are still great to analyze and take in for new ideas.

🚤 Motion

Interactive Generative Art

This is a fun little online experiment that has turned into a mobile device. Essentially you draw with the mouse or finger, and the colors and the curvature of the line change as you draw. Above is a cool little butterfly that came from the experimenting I did. If you haven't played with it before, it is a great little piece to play with.

🔖 Articles and Tutorials

Distance Functions

After having posted about the basics of distance functions in several places (pouet, my blog, shadertoy, private emails, etc), I thought it might make sense to put these together in a centralized place. Here you will find the distance functions for basic primitives, plus the formulas for combining them together for building more complex shapes, as well as some distortion functions that you can use to shape your objects. Hopefully this will be useful for those rendering scenes with raymarching. You can see some of the results you can get by using these techniques in the raymarching distance fields article. Lastly, this article doesn't include lighting tricks, nor marching acceleration tricks or more advanced techniques as recursive primitives or fractals. In case you are looking for 2D SDF functions, you'll find them in the 2D SDF page and 2D SDF and Gradients page.

Lots of detailed code to compute distance functions that would be useful in anyone's toolbox when playing in 3D space.

Blender 2.8 Grease Pencil Scripting and Generative Art

Why? mostly because we can. Also because Blender is a very rich ecosystem, and Grease-Pencil in version 2.8 is a powerful and versatile tool. Generative art is a captivating way to showcase the tool potential: if you love Python and don’t feel like learning Processing, or are still unsure about venturing with p5.js or Three.js, here you will find the perfect playground.

Generative Art and NFTs

CryptoKitties, released in 2017 as one of the earliest experiments with NFTs, aren’t just digital trading cards. They’re the output of code that randomizes their cartoon appearances, and potential input for future generations of kitties. They’re pieces in a game where players breed and collect cats, and their smart contracts set the parameters for play, encoding gestation periods to regulate the frequency of reproduction and genotypes to determine how each new kitty combines “Cattributes” of generation zero.

A Robot Poet Goes for a Walk in the Park

This talk will explore the design and development of Computational Flâneur. On a technical level, we'll discuss the neural network model that powers the piece's poetry generator, including a brief overview of common text generation tools and how this exact structure was chosen to create a specific "bot-like" aesthetic. We'll also discuss how it's seeded by various forms of smartphone sensor data like location and weather, what sorts of prototyping processes were needed to fine-tune it, and how to conceptually approach this sort of real-world proc-gen differently from normal procedural generation problems.

Courses

Programming Data Visualizations: A Coding Toolkit for Processing

In this new one-hour class, join information designer Nicholas Felton to explore the world of Processing — a coding language specifically created to encourage designers to code.

In 6 bite-sized lessons, you'll explore a toolkit of Processing sketches, organized around FAQs and common scenarios from Nicholas's own work, including:

  • Importing data into Processing from CSV, XML, and JSON

  • Sketches for common graphic structures, including rows, grids, concentric circles, lines, radial graphics, and mapped coordinates

  • Debugging best practices and checklists

  • Refinements for polishing your sketches, including alternative shapes (triangles, arcs), custom typography, and different color systems (HSB, RGB)

Plus, this class includes an exclusive, downloadable .zip folder full of corresponding Processing sketches you can explore, copy/paste into your code, and reference again and again.

I ran through it quickly at 2x speed and found some great little tips and tricks that are definitely worth watching for 60 minutes.

Books

Brian Eno: Visual Music

Visual Music is a one-of-a-kind guided tour through the visual art of creative polymath Brian Eno. Featuring more than 300 images of Eno's installation, light, and video artwork, this exquisite volume is the definitive monograph of a contemporary master. In addition to page after page of full-color art, Visual Music features Eno's personal notebook pages, his essay "Perfume, Defense, and David Bowie's Wedding," an interview with the artist, scholarly essays, and an original-for-the-book piece of free downloadable music. We're frequently asked to bring this book back into print and here it is now for the first time in a deluxe paperback edition.

Please send me your inspirations...