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Journey to the center of the machine

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These images were made with George Maydwell’s cellular automata java applets that used to be posted at collidoscope.com which now seems to be gone.  George’s applets took ca to a whole new level.  If you want to see some examples, here’s a posting I wrote years ago on Orbittrap: Collidoscope.com’s Modern CA –Animation Wonderland! But these particular images have something special about them.  I set the parameters to extreme levels which along with generating a very different kind of imagery also greatly speeds up the process.   The result is these granular, pixel mosaics that flash on the screen in a rapid succession in a fraction of a second.  It’s too fast to take a normal screenshot (there is no other way to capture imagery from these applets) so one just has to blindly take screenshots and see if they’ve captured anything interesting.  It’s a bit like photographing race cars from the edge of the track as they speed past you.
These are the controls for the applet.  I think this is…

Painting with power

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I often like to quote things that have never been said before.  The “quote style” of writing has a whole new feel to it and instantly transforms an otherwise common place statement into the realm of the legendary.  In the same way I’ve often wanted to take images like the one above and make them into CD music covers that have yet to be made.  It’s like the crazy stuff in the old TV series, In Search Of: we don’t care if it’s not really true because wild “theory” is a magical form of lies and becomes a kind of science fiction that has a strange new appeal and almost infinite potential.  Call it creative non-fiction:  History before it happens: Pre-recorded history.




These things are drawn in seconds and that’s in batches of 12 or 24 or whatever size you want.  They’re then breeded with each other to come up with a new generation to focus on the specific visual genes of the parent images.  It’s a program called, Kandid and is referred to as Genetic Art.  It’s pretty weird to use because y…

Nighttime travels

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The program Fractal Vizion does a thousand and one things. One of my favorites that I wrote about way back in 2006 was the random landscape function. It creates a random landscape.



It's the automatic palette generator that really completes the effect coloring the "sea" and the "land" in just the right mysterious way. I added something else; I substituted black for the sky color instantly turning the land into a glowing moonlight landscape under a starless sky. It was a minor tweak. Inspired by the automatic machinery's artistry.




























The Weird Image

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HP Lovecraft in his essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927) uses the word "weird" to describe a special quality in the works of a sub-genre of fiction that he labels, "The Weird Tale".  I've found it to be a useful analogy to explain what the "synthetic aesthetic" is and what makes such machine made imagery surprisingly interesting.  Just as Lovecraft speaks of The Weird Tale in fiction, I would speak of The Weird Image in art.

Quotes from Lovecraft:
The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain — a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults …

The Mona Lizard

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The Mona Lizard by Leozardo, 2017, by permission of the Louvre

Where's the connection? It's in the sky. Notice up in the left corner, just to the side of Mona's head, there is an interesting but weakly detailed landscape scene in which a greenish flash of light is reflected off the night time overcast sky.

Compare with the old version:



I think mine has better irrelevant background details. Great artists like Leonardo were never very good at that. I don't think they even tried. There are limits to what you can do with a paintbrush.

The lizard started out as a Sterlingware fractal which was then processed in XnView using photoshop type filters that messed with the colors, textures (if in fact texture exists in a pixelized medium) and finally did a mirror image thing that produced that strange symmetrical look that transforms an image radically but simply --sometimes.

 I was just testing out my 32 bit filters in a 64 bit program running on the wine emulator in 64 bi…

Fog and Fyre

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When it comes to making art by pushing buttons and turning dials, there ought to be a general rule of thumb that says push every button, turn every dial.  If it's there - turn it.

I just discovered the blur thing.  It's always been there, but I guess I just thought it made things blurry and that's not terribly interesting.  But I've discovered that the two blur parameters, blur-something and blur-something else are very interesting.



The second image in a series I've titled, Smudge.  The first one didn't look cool when I looked at it a day later, so I deleted it.  The blur effect is quite powerful and adds a unique style to the images.  I guess you just don't know what the result of some parameter change will be until you see the results.



The above was left to render for a much longer time in order to made the light, translucent forms more visible.  The blur does create the expected cold, foggy, wet, rocky seashore look and the black and white color limitat…

The Wheel of Digital Art

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The digital medium allows for some very strange, head-warping things to be done.  For instance, one can take one piece of art in it's final state, completed and ready for viewing, and use it as the raw material for another, completely new and different work of art.  This is more than a mere "reworking"; it's a complete transformation of one thing into another where only the artist (i.e. machine operator) knows what has happened.



Made in Fyre, the above image is blown up to four times its size and transformed by Showfoto's block wave filter.  I then cropped out a piece which is shown just below.



As always, sometimes it makes something interesting and sometimes it doesn't.  I tried it on twenty or so images and came up with the following results:



The above, using the same procedure I just mentioned, yielded the image below:





The same thing again, from the above to produce the one below, which is a cropped out detail of the 4x image.





Above image used to make the one b…