Friday, May 9, 2008

Modern Art

Kandid's Gallery:

The images shown here are true works of modern art pulled directly from metropolitan museum of modern art. They are all works by one eclectic artist named Kandid. Imagine each of these paintings framed on well-lit wall. Imagine the plush benches and the midst of minimalist spaces with people slowly passing from painting to painting. Imagine people in hushed tones conversing about their perceived perceptions of these intricate images. “Where do these colors come from?” “Are they abstract representations of a bleak and sordid life of the artist interwoven amongst the faint outline of a flawless circle – a circle representing a flawless harmony found within the simple color palette?” When put in this kind of setting, and perspective, these small thumbnails come alive. They suddenly are more than various colored pixels, they are expressions of humanity – they are art. When I look at these images, I can see a carefully constructed human decision to express meaning and message with these colors, shapes and patterns. In the perspectives of modern art, they are very interesting and common examples of abstractness of human emotions, thoughts, scenes, and desires.

Even though these paintings seem abstract, the carefully selected combinations of colors, lines, and patterns serve a purpose to the whole of the painting. They represent the optimal point in the artist’s ultimate creative vision. Just know something about the artist, Kandid, I know that every single stroke and line is there for a purpose. When you know that every gradient and curve has thought, intention, and purpose, we begin to realize that seemingly random patterns in these images may not be random at all. This only exemplifies our appreciation for the artistic mastery of Kandid’s art pieces and justify the hubbub they are creating on the stark walls of this world-renowned art gallery.

Now please, before reading on, take a few moments to look at these works yourself. Take some time to analyze what Kandid was trying to convey with these three different and unique pieces. Talk about what it means to you and what you think it meant to Kandid.

The Art is in the Maker:

I think it’s now time to talk a little bit about Kandid, the artist that I’ve been raving about for the past few paragraphs. Kandid is probably one of the most unusual artists whose pieces you will analyze for their detail and intricate nature. Kandid actually has a webpage here: . As I’m sure you’re aware of by now, Kandid is not human at all. In fact, it is a very sophisticated computer program that utilizes a new hot piece of computer science technology known as genetic algorithms. From the website:

“Kandid is a system to evolve graphics. Graphics, in Kandid, is not drawn by hand. Instead new forms can be found using genetic algorithms. To achieve this aim Kandid simulates evolution using sexual reproduction and populations. But there is no fitness function inside the program. Only the user decide which images are interesting."

To simulate evolution Kandid uses crossing over, mutation, populations and has a gene data base. Image calculation is based on Lisp like expressions, Iterated Function Systems (IFS), Linear Cellular Automata (LCA), Voroni diagrams, Lindenmayer Systems (L-systems), and layered textures renderd by Persistence of Vision”


The question I rhetorically ask now is “Are Kandid’s productions Art? Can Kandid mimic human expression through art?” It is true that Kandid put a lot of “thought” into the color of every pixel and the direction of every line. Furthermore, Kandid used a process that is inherently very biological. Evolutionary and genetic algorithms rely on the process that got humans to where they are today. No two paintings will be exactly alike, just as no two biological offspring will be exactly alike. Each of the drawings that Kandid’s algorithms produced is unique and one of a kind. Can we say that Kandid did in fact create something unique?

While these may be just images and our minds may be relatively resolved one way or another, I also want to pose the question of what happens when our computer algorithms begin to mimic ecological functions such as evolution and genetics on a scale many orders of magnitude more complex than they are today. If a computer’s mimicry of nature approaches perfection, and we can no longer distinguish the end product of the two, then how do we determine ecology from ecomimicry?

No comments: