The Idea Becomes A Machine That Makes The Art

situating the work of Refik Anadol in the history of generative art

Kyle Steinfeld for L&S 25, Fall 2019

This talk seeks to situate the work of Refik Anadol in the context of the history of Generative Art.

"Generative art" is defined as any art practice in which the artist hands over control to a system that can function autonomously and that contributes to or creates a work of art. These systems range from natural language instructions and mathematical operations to computer programs and biological processes.

This text draws from three sources:

Machine Art was one of the first exhibitions of the new department of Architecture + Design at MoMA. This was the first time that industrial objects were exhibited in an art museum. For the first time, objects that were made by machines, but designed by humans, were presented as art objects.

This included: common household objects, like furniture, pots, and pans, industrial equipment, like springs, insulators, and pistons, and scientific instruments like microscopes, and beakers.

Installation view of the exhibition, "Machine Art."
March 5, 1934-April 29, 1934. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

Machine Art was one of the first exhibitions 
of the new department of Architecture + Design 
at MoMA

the first time that industrial objects 
were exhibited in an art museum

for the first time, 
objects that were made by machines, 
but designed by humans,
were presented as art objects.

this included:    
    common household objects 
        like furniture, pots, and pans, 
    industrial equipment 
        like springs, insulators, and pistons, 
    and scientific instruments 
        like microscopes, and beakers
    

As curator Philip Johnson noted: the exhibition was born from the idea that "art could still be made without the handcraft approach". Where "handicraft implies irregularity, picturesqueness, decorative value and uniqueness the machine - and modern design - implies precision, simplicity, smoothness, reproducibility"

This was a celebration of, and, indeed the defining of, a "functional aesthetic" inherent in manufactured objects.

Installation view of the exhibition, "Machine Art."
March 5, 1934-April 29, 1934. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

As curator Philip Johnson noted:
    the exhibition was born from the idea 
    that "art could still be made without the handcraft approach"

where "handicraft implies 
    irregularity, picturesqueness, decorative value and uniqueness
the machine - and modern design - implies 
    precision, simplicity, smoothness, reproducibility"

a celebration of,
and, indeed the defining of,
a "functional aesthetic" 
    inherent in manufactured objects.
    
what can we learn from this as we prepare for our next guest lecture?

With this understanding of "machine art" in mind, I offer the following analogy to frame this week's lecture:

  • as
  • the MoMA Machine Art exhibit
  • is to
  • consumer objects and experiences
  • produced by
  • industrial machines
  • so too
  • the artistic work of
  • Refik Anadol and others
  • is to
  • consumer objects and experiences
  • produced by
  • post-industrial machines
  • in particular, work produced by
  • software and data
  • With this understanding of "machine art" in mind,
    I offer the following analogy to frame this week's lecture:
    
    [click]
    
    As 
        the MoMA Machine Art exhibit
        is to
        consumer objects and experiences produced by industrial machines
    so too 
        the artistic work of Refik Anadol and others
        is to
        consumer objects and experiences produced by post-industrial machines
        
    what is a post-industrial machine?
        i'm speaking specifically of machines consisting of 
        software and data
    
    
    

    The presence of industrial objects in an exhibit was a provocation, and a demonstration of a new "aesthetic of functionality" that spoke to larger trends in the culture at the time.

    In much the same way, there was a time quite recently when it would be shocking to come across an object produced by software or data in an art context.

    (right) Archive Dreaming
    An installation in which a temporary immersive architectural space is created as a canvas with light and data applied as materials.
    Refik Anadol, 2017
    In 1934, it was shocking 
    to come across an industrially-produced object, 
        such as a mixing bowl or a propeller, 
    in an art context. 
    
    The presence of such objects in an exhibit was a provocation, 
        and a demonstration of a new "aesthetic of functionality" 
        that spoke to larger trends in the culture at the time. 
    
    In much the same way, 
    there was a time quite recently 
    when it would be shocking to come across 
    an object produced by software or data 
    in an art context.
    
    
    

    Curator Philip Galanter defines generative art as "any art practice in which the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural-language rules, biological processes, mathematical operations, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, that is set into motion with some degree of autonomy, thereby contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art."

    Bosphorus
    Data sculpture inspired by high frequency radar data collections of Marmara Sea.
    Refik Anadol, 2018

    To be more specific, I would argue that we see Anadol's work 
    as a contemporary example of "generative art"
    
    Curator Philip Galanter defines generative art as 
        any art practice in which the artist uses a system, 
            such as a set of natural-language rules, 
            biological processes, 
            mathematical operations, 
            a computer program, 
            a machine, 
            or other procedural invention, 
        that is set into motion with some degree of autonomy, 
        thereby contributing to or resulting in 
        a completed work of art.
    
    To put that more succinctly, 
    we might turn to the artist Sol LeWitt,
    who, writing about conceptual art in 1967, stated:
        
    

    By this definition, we can see that generative art pre-dates computers. In fact, the conceptual art of the mid-twentieth century, provides an important link between the work shown in the "Machine Art" exhibit and the generative artists, such as Anadol, who are working with software and data today.

  • "The idea becomes a machine that makes the art".
  • - Sol LeWitt, 1967
  • 
        "when an artist uses a conceptual form of art, 
        it means that all of the planning and decisions 
        are made beforehand 
        and the execution is a perfunctory affair. 
        
    [click]
        
        The idea becomes a machine that makes the art."
        
    
    by this definition, we can see that 
    generative art pre-dates computers.
    
    in fact, 
    the conceptual art of the mid-twentieth century,
    provides an important link 
    between the work shown in the "Machine Art" exhibit
    and the generative artists, 
        such as Anadol, 
    who are working with software and data today.
        
    -------
    
    Sol LeWitt, "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art," Artforum 5, no. 10 (June 1967), pp. 79-83
    
    

    To illustrate this link, in this text, I present three stories each of which links a pair of artists.

    To illustrate this link,
    in my talk today, I will present three stories 
    each of which links a pair of artists: 
        one from the mid-twenthith century
            who worked a pre-computational or proto-computational media
        and a second more contemporary example
            who works with some form of digital media
    
    

    The work of Josef Albers, shown here on the left, focuses on the human perception of combinations of colors.

    This work directly prefigures the work of Joel Simon in the late 1990s, when interactive computer-based art was in its infancy.

    (left) Variant VI, Josef Albers, 1966
    (right) Color Panel v 1.0, Joel Simon, 1999
    To get warmed up,
    I'll start with a simple example.
    
    The work of Josef Albers, 
        shown here on the left, 
    focuses on the human perception 
    of combinations of colors. 
    
    This work directly prefigures 
    the work of Joel Simon in the late 1990s, 
    when interactive computer-based art 
    was in its infancy.
    
    

    Next, is the work of Joan Truckenbrod, who pioneered a practice in the 1970s that we would now call "algorithmic drawing". Truckenbrod was perhaps the first to implement algorithms meant to represent natural phenomena in the service of visual art.

    This practice is very much alive today, and has since been extended by practitioners such as Jessica Rosenkrantz, who authored the image on the right, Jenny Sabin, and others.

    (left) Coded Algorithmic Drawings, Joan Truckenbrod, 1975
    (right) Laplacian Growth, Nervous System, 2014
    Next, I'll talk about the work of Joan Truckenbrod,
    who pioneered a practice in the 1970s 
    that we would now call "algorithmic drawing".
    
    Truckenbrod was perhaps the first to implement
    algorithms meant to represent natural phenomena
    in the service of visual art.
    
    This practice is very much alive today,
    and has since been extended by practitioners 
        such as Jessica Rosenkrantz, 
            who authored the image on the right,
        Jenny Sabin,
        and others.
    
    

    Finally we present the work of a giant of conceptual art, Sol Le Witt, alongside one of the pioneers of generative art, Casey Reas.

    (left) Drawing 260, Sol LeWitt, 1966
    (installed in 2009 at MoMA)
    (right) Casey Reas, 2009
    I'll save my most ambitious story for last.
    
    Here I'll present the work of a giant of conceptual art,
        Sol Le Witt,
    Alongside one of the pioneers of generative art, 
        Casey Reas
        
    
    
       
    

    Much of the work shown in this lecture was borrowed from
    the Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art 1965-2018 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2018.

    Josef Albers -> | Joel Simon

    The earliest work I'll show today 
    was produced roughly at the same time 
    as the Machine Art exhibit I mentioned 
    at the top of this talk.
    
    

    The Nazis shutdown of the Bauhaus school in 1933 prompted a mass exodus of its staff to other countries, and America gained one of its foremost instructors, Josef Albers. After his emigration, the modernist artist and designer had a profound influence on the theory and practice of art and design most notably through his influential book "Interaction of Color".

    (left) Cover of the exhibition catelog for the Machine Art exhibit, designed by Josef Albers
    (right) Interaction of Color, Josef Albers, 1971
    
    The Nazis shutdown of the Bauhaus school in 1933
    prompted a mass exodus of its staff to other countries, 
    and America gained one of its foremost instructors, 
    Josef Albers. 
    
    After his emigration, the modernist artist and designer 
    had a profound influence 
    on the theory and practice of art and design
    most notably through his influential book 
    "Interaction of Color"
    
    
    

    Albers was particularly interested in combinatorics: the sequencing and ordering of simple collections of units. He was also interested in color theory and investigating the perceptual changes in hue caused by placing different colors next to each other.

    (left) Bauhaus Stencil Lettering, Josef Albers, 1926-28
    (right) MM3, Josef Albers, 1961
    Albers was particularly interested 
    in combinatorics: 
        the sequencing and ordering 
        of simple collections of units
    
    He was also interested in color theory 
    and investigating the perceptual changes in hue 
    caused by placing different colors next to each other.
    
    

    In this work, Albers sought to demonstrate that our perception of color is contextual.

    
    In this work, Albers sought to demonstrate that our perception of color is contextual.
    
    

    Variant VI
    Josef Albers, 1966

    Josef Albers (1888-1976), Variant VI, 1966, from the portfolio Ten Variants. Screenprint: sheet, 17 x 17 in. (43.2 x 43.2 cm); image, 11 x 11 7/8 in. (27.9 x 30.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the artist 67.64.6. (c) 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    
    

    Homage to the Square I
    Josef Albers, 1967

    Josef Albers (1888-1976), Homage to the Square I, 1967, from the portfolio Homage to the Square. Screenprint on board: sheet, 24 3/16  24 3/16 in. (61.4  61.4 cm); image, 19 5/8  19 5/8 in. (49.9  49.9 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the artist 68.1.1. (c) 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    
    

    The most well-known application of his theory of color was his "Homage to the Square" series, which was started in the summer of 1949.

    (left) Homage to the Square: Apparition, 1959 (right) Homage to the Square: With Rays, 1959
    Josef Albers
    The most well-known application 
    of his theory of color 
    was his "Homage to the Square" series, 
    which was started in the summer of 1949
    
    

    Albers continued working on this series over the next twenty-five years, and made more than a thousand related works over that time.

    
    
    (left) Homage to the Square: Patina, 1962 (right) Homage to the Square: Full, 1962
    Josef Albers
    
    Albers continued working on this series over the next twenty-five years.
    He made more than a thousand related works over that time.
    
    
    (from left to Right) Homage to the Square: Midnight + Noon I-IV
    Josef Albers, 1964
        
    He developed four layouts, 
    three composed of three squares each 
    and the fourth composed of four squares. 
    
    to explain his selection 
    of a very simple geometric composition,
    he said: 
        "The scheme of the Homages 
        has no real aesthetic consequences by itself," 
        "There were hundreds of possibilities, 
        but since my main problem is color ... 
        let's have a scheme"
    
    

    Like a composer writing variations on a single melodic theme, Albers created countless color combinations in which the effect of individual colors changes markedly from work to work, demonstrating the variability of our perception of color.

    (from left to Right) Homage to the Square: Midnight + Noon V-VIII
    Josef Albers, 1964
    
    Like a composer 
    writing variations on a single melodic theme, 
    Albers created countless color combinations 
    in which the effect of individual colors 
    changes markedly from work to work, 
    demonstrating the variability 
    of our perception of color.
    
    

    Observing that Albers' work is combinatorial by its nature, roughly thirty years later, "net" artist Joel Simon sought to extend this way of thinking to its logical result.

    CPU
    Joel Simon, 1999
    Observing that Albers' work 
    is combinatorial by its nature, 
    roughly thirty years later, 
    "net" artist Joel Simon 
    sought to extend this way of thinking 
    to its logical result.
    
    According to Joel, CPU, 
        or Color Processing Unit, 
    is a study of emergent behavior and viewer perception. 
    
    Here, a rule set generates combinations of colors. 
    
    Although the software uses the same rules, 
    the viewer interprets some of these combinations 
    as 'patterns' and others as 'noise'. 
    
    In this way it comments on 
    the infinite potential of visual space 
        how many images are possible 
        and how many are considered as such.
    
    
    Color Panel v 1.0
    Joel Simon, 1999
    Similarly, Color Panel v 1.0 is a time based color study. 
    
    Influenced by the Bauhaus movement, 
    Color Panel interprets color 'rules' into software. 
    
    The software iterates through color possibilities 
    explored in theories proposed by Bauhaus artists
    
    The activation of these studies 
    results in a dynamic composition 
    of changing color pallets that never repeat.
    
    
    
    Every Icon
    Joel Simon, 1996 and 2012
    Finally, 
    we have this 1996 piece titled "Every Icon".
    which is presented as an early online installation, 
    a Palm Pilot application, 
    a wall projection, 
    and a self-contained wall hanging object. 
    
    The piece consists of a 32 x 32 square grid 
    where every square can be colored black or white. 
    
    The piece starts with an all-white image 
    and progresses through combinations of black and white squares 
    until every square is black. 
    
    By this process, the piece will show every possible image. 
    
    Even in this limited visual space,
    there are more images than the human mind can experience 
    in many lifetimes.
    
    
    

    Joan Truckenbrod -> | Jenny Sabin / Jessica Rosenkrantz

    Next, I'd like to talk about 
    one of the first artists to work with computers 
    in the production of drawings. 
    
    Since the work of Joan Truckenbrod 
    spans a number of decades 
    and is expressed in different media, 
    I'll discuss her early computer drawing work 
    separately from her later textile work, 
    and will connect each of these 
    to a different contemporary practice.
    
    

    Truckenbrod started making her computer drawings in the 1970s, using the programming language Fortran.

    Coded Algorithmic Drawings, Ink on Paper
    Joan Truckenbrod, 1975
    Truckenbrod started making her computer drawings 
    in the 1970s, 
    using the programming language Fortran. 
    
    

    She explains: "I saw that algorithms could be reconfigured, they were not a hard set of instructions but fluid, allowing me to transform ideas into new forms. There was a spontaneity that was related to this process, that then related back into the series of works."

    Coded Algorithmic Drawings, Ink on Paper
    Joan Truckenbrod, 1975
    She explains, 
    "I saw that algorithms could be reconfigured, 
    they were not a hard set of instructions but fluid, 
    allowing me to transform ideas into new forms. 
    There was a spontaneity that was related to this process, 
    that then related back into the series of works." 
    
    

    Truckenbrod would frequently incorporate algorithms that described natural phenomena, such as light or sound waves, and give them physical substance through her projects.

    (left) Color Xerox Transparencies Overlay
    (right) Coded Algorithmic Drawings, Ink on Paper
    Joan Truckenbrod, 1976 & 1975
        
    Truckenbrod would frequently incorporate 
    algorithms that described natural phenomena, 
    such as light or sound waves, 
    and give them physical substance 
    through her projects. 
    
    
    
    

    Algorithmic drawing requires artsits to work at a distance: unlike today, artists working on computer drawings could not see the results of their code on a screen immediately after having written it.

    
    

    Sine Curve Man
    Charles Csuri, 1967

    
    Unlike today, 
    artists working on computer drawings at that time 
    could not see the results of their code on a screen 
    immediately after having written it. 
    
    They had to work with a machine 
    to punch their program onto a series of cards, 
    which then communicated with the mainframe computer 
    that guided plotters to draw the work. 
    
    -----
    
    In 1967, Charles Csuri's Sine Curve Man, created at Ohio State University in collaboration with programmer James Shaffer, stood out as one of the most complex figurative computer-generated images. As Csuri and Shaffer explained, to make the work, "a picture of a man was placed in the memory of an IBM 7094. Mathematical strategies were then applied to the original data." Csuri and Shaffer's code transformed the line drawing of the man by repeatedly vertically shifting an X or Y value of the given curve and letting the resulting drawings accumulate on top of each other. Csuri felt that peer artists working with technology at the time had tended to place more emphasis on materials and technical processes than the underlying scientific concepts creating those products. For Csuri, the computer brought the artist closer to the scientist, allowing him to directly work with basic scientific concepts and examine the laws creating physical reality.
    
    
    
    
    

    Many artists working today may be seen as following after this early work in algorithmic drawing. This is evidenced by the recent exhibition organized at CCA, titled "Drawing Codes".

    
    
    Selected work from the Drawing Codes exhibit, 2017-2020
    Curated by Andrew Kudless & Adam Marcus
        
    Any number of artists 
    may be seen as following after this early work 
    in algorithmic drawing.
    
    This is evidenced by the recent exhibition organized at CCA,
    titled "Drawing Codes".
    
    Fifty years after Truckenbrod, 
    interest is still apparently strong to
        "explore the impact of emerging technologies 
        on the relationship between code and drawing: 
        how rules and constraints 
        inform the ways architects 
            document, 
            analyze, 
            represent, 
            and design the built environment. 
    
    
    (left) Primal Motives
    Madeline Gannon / ATONATON, 2018
    (right) Murmuration of Starling Simulation
    Gavin Wood, 2015
    To take just one example from this exhibit,
        (one that some of you 
        may have read about in section this week)
    consider this piece by Madeline Gannon,
    in which we find echos of Truckenbrod's stated interest
    in patterns drawn from nature.
    
    Here, one of the classic examples 
    of mathematical emergence 
    is given form.
    
    according to Gannon, the static drawing on the left depicts
        "Thousands of agents race[ing] towards each other 
        only to be pushed apart by their internal desire 
        for equilibrium. 
        The lines you see here illustrate 
        these primal, spatial motives at play."
    
    Although this abstract model of consciousness 
    has been computationally understood for over 30 years, 
    we are only just beginning 
    to embody intelligent, autonomous machines 
    with these spatial behaviors. 
    
    
    
    
    
    Jesse Louis-Rosenburg and Jessica Rosenkrantz
    Floraform and Hyphae, 2014
    Finally, 
    any discussion of algorithmic depictions of growth 
    would not be complete without mentioning 
    the work of the design firm "Nervous System".
    
    Recalling Truckenbrod's work,
    this collaboration between 
    architect / computer scientist Jessica Rosenkrantz 
    and biologist Jesse Louis-Rosenburg
    uses computational models of biological growth
    to design functional objects inspired by natural forms.
    
    

    To make the patchwork textile we see here, Joan Truckenbrod again implemented algorithms depicting natural phenomena.

    Churning Geometries, Woven Mercerized Cotton
    Joan Truckenbrod, 2019

    I'll return briefly to Truckenbrod herself,
    to pick back up on a thread of work 
    that built upon her algorithmic drawing series.
    
    To make the patchwork textile we see here, 
    Joan Truckenbrod again implemented algorithms 
    depicting natural phenomena 
        (this time in the programming language BASIC) 
    to create a series of abstract sequential images
    printed on heat-transfer material.
    
    
    
    

    Rain Jumping Up the Stairs, Woven Mercerized Cotton
    Joan Truckenbrod, 2019

    After superimposing a pattern,
    and reconfiguring the image components, 
    she hand-irons them onto polyester fiber 
    to create the sort of compositions we see here. 
    
    
    
    

    Truckenbrod's digital fabrics connect early computational art with the feminist textile art practice of the 1970s that challenged the relegation of techniques such as quilting, sewing, and weaving to the realm of "women's crafts."

    
    
    (left) Particle Warp, 2019 (middle) Light Through the Trees, 2018 (right) The Fire of Blue, 2018
    Woven Mercerized Cotton
    Joan Truckenbrod
    The textile work is shown suspended 
    so that its display becomes fluid--affected 
    by light and air movement
    and part of the "natural" world. 
    
    Truckenbrod's digital fabrics 
    connect early computational art 
    with the feminist textile art practice of the 1970s 
    that challenged the relegation of techniques 
        such as quilting, sewing, and weaving 
    to the realm of "women's crafts."
    
    
    The Fourier Carpet Series
    Jenny Sabin Studio, 2008
    
    Truckenbrod's fabric work is contemporary,
    but we can find those inspired by it,
    and who seek to extend it,
    in the contemporary design world as well.
    
    The Fourier Carpet Series,
        by architect Jenny Sabin,
    is a line of algorithmically-generated rugs.
    
    

    The Fourier Carpet Series
    Jenny Sabin Studio, 2008

    
    The patterns we see here are based on the Fourier Series, 
        a binary mathematical sequence 
        often used for the analysis of sound and color. 
    
    According to Sabin:
        "This combination of advanced technologies 
            for the production of craft-based industrial products
            confounds traditional emphasis 
            on the hand-made ... 
            and raises provocative questions 
            about self-generating patterning processes 
            afforded by novel combinations 
            of historical and contemporary technologies.
            
    
    

    Sol Le Witt -> | Casey Reas

    Encapsulating the idea that "the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work," Sol LeWitt's wall drawings are actually sets of instructions that others execute when the work is to be exhibited.

    (left) Proposal for Wall Drawing, Information Show (MoMA, 1970)
    (middle) Wall drawing installation at Dia Beacon
    (right) Wall Drawing #273, 1975, installed at Dia Beacon in 2007
    Encapsulating the idea that 
        "the idea or concept 
        is the most important aspect 
        of the work," 
    Sol LeWitt's wall drawings 
    are actually sets of instructions 
    that others execute 
    when the work is to be exhibited. 
    
    For example, the instructions here read:
        
        Proposal for Wall Drawing, Information Show
        
        Within four adjacent squares,
        each 4' by 4',
        four draftsmen will be employed
        at $4.00/hour
        for four hours a day
        and for four days to draw straight lines
        4 inches long
        using four different colored pencils;
        9H black, red, yellow, and blue.
        Each draftsmen will use the same color throughout
        the four day period,
        working on a different square each day.
        
    
    

    The exact angle and length of the lines in any piece may be, to some extent, determined by those who draw them, and the work may be adapted to fit a variety of architectural contexts.

    Sol LeWitt, 4th wall: 24 lines from the center, 12 lines from the midpoint of each of the sides, 12 lines from each corner, 1976, from Wall Drawing #289
    
    The exact angle and length of the lines in any piece
    may be, to some extent,
    determined by those who draw them, 
    and the work may be adapted to fit 
    a variety of architectural contexts.
    
    for example, called for here is simply
        twenty-four lines from the center, 
        twelve from the midpoint of each of the sides, 
        and twelve from each corner
    
    
    

    Consequently, any given wall drawing is scalable and can differ significantly with each realization. The instructions for the piece we see here are incredibly site-specific, and open to interpretation. They simply read: "All architectural points connected by straight lines."

    Wall Drawing 51
    Sol LeWitt, 1970
    Installed at Mass MoCA
        
    Consequently, any given wall drawing is scalable 
    and can differ significantly with each realization. 
    
    The instructions for the piece we see here 
    are incredibly site-specific, and open to interpretation
    
    They simply read:
        "All architectural points 
        connected by straight lines."
    
    

    Wall Drawing #289 at Mass MoCA

    Although these instructions are executed by humans rather than a computer, its language-based instructions function as a program would in a digital work of art.

    Installation of Wall Drawing #289 at Mass MoCA
    Although these instructions 
    are executed by humans 
    rather than a computer, 
    its language-based instructions 
    function as a program would 
    in a digital work of art.
    
    

    In 2004, just as in our previous stories the artist Casey Reas built upon LeWitt's work, extending it to its logical end, and adapting it to a new computational media. His re-interpretation of LeWitt begins with a literal adaptation. Here, for example, we see LeWitt's Wall Drawing 106 interpreted by software.

    Wall Drawing #106.
    Casey Reas, 2004
    responsive and non-responsive versions
    In 2004,
        just as in our previous stories
    the artist Casey Reas built upon LeWitt's work,
    extending it to its logical end,
    and adapting it to a new computational media.
    
    His re-interpretation of LeWitt
    begins with a literal adaptation.
    
    Here, for example, 
    we see LeWitt's Wall Drawing 106
    interpreted by software.
    
    On the left, a static image,
    and on the right,
    the logical extension of LeWitt's idea
    expressed as an interactive media,
    in which the agency afforded to LeWitt's draftsmen
    is now extended to the viewer of the work.
    
    

    Casey writes: "The catalyst for this project is the work of Sol LeWitt. I had a simple question: "Is the history of conceptual art relevant to the idea of software as art?". "I began to answer the question by implementing three of LeWitt's drawings in software."

    (left) Wall Drawing #85, Sol LeWitt
    Installation at Magasin III in Stockholm
    (right) Wall Drawing #85, Casey Reas, 2004
        
    In his writing about this series, 
    Casey writes:
        The catalyst for this project 
        is the work of Sol LeWitt. 
        I had a simple question: 
            "Is the history of conceptual art 
            relevant to the idea of software as art?" 
        
        "I began to answer the question 
        by implementing three of LeWitt's drawings 
        in software."
        [Implementations with permission of Sol LeWitt.]
    
    Here we see wall drawing #85 
    in pencil on the right and in software on the left.
    
    The instructions for this wall drawing read:
    
        "A wall is divided into four horizontal parts. 
        In the top row are four equal divisions, 
        each with lines in a different direction. 
        In the second row, six double combinations; 
        in the third row, four triple combinations; 
        in the bottom row, 
        all four combinations superimposed."
    
    
    

    Casey Reas futher expands Sol LeWitt's concept that the idea is "a machine that makes art" by demonstrating that it is always true for works of software art.

    {Software} Structure #003 A & B
    Casey Reas, 2016

    Casey Reas futher expands 
    Sol LeWitt's concept 
    that the idea is "a machine that makes art" 
    by demonstrating that 
    it is always true for works of software art. 
    
    Reas generates and executes the drawing 
    through programming, 
    but, 
        as with LeWitt's early wall drawings, 
    starts with a description 
    in natural language: 
    
        A surface filled with one hundred 
        medium to small circles. 
        
        Each circle has a different size and direction, 
        but moves at the same slow rate. 
        
        Display: 
            A. The instantaneous intersections of the circles 
            B. The aggregate intersections of the circles
    
    In Structure #003A, 
    the points moving on the screen 
    are the center of each circle, 
    while the lines connect 
    the intersections of overlapping circles. 
    
    Structure #003B 
    gives viewers a different view of the structure 
    by compressing changes over time 
    into the same visual space; 
    it is created using a process similar to 
    taking a long-exposure photograph of Structure #003A 
    and is continually changing, erasing, and redrawing 
    while never repeating.
    
    

    This ten minute presentation introduces the Process works created by Casey Reas from 2004-2010.

        
    

    Refik Anadol's talk is titled "Space in the Mind of a Machine", and takes place on Oct 17th at BAMPFA.