I had the opportunity to interview Brandon Morse, an artist and professor at UMD who works with generative systems and digital media. For my project, I’ve been having a lot of difficulty conceptualizing what I want the art to look like and how I want the data and the art to interact. Much of my interview focused on seeking advice about this struggle. The questions I asked Brandon are listed below, and a summary of our conversation around the questions are listed also.
1) What is the best way to design generative art/what are the fundamentals of generative art? Where does the line between chaos and structure get drawn?
- The best way to design is to just try. Try playing around with the software, and just sit down and code. When something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to move on.
- This is entirely up to the creator. While this is a major part of creating generative art, it’s up to the creator to decide where structure ends and randomness begins.
2) Have you ever used outside input as a generative art factor? How did you work with it, or how would you recommend approaching it? Do you think deriving the art from the user’s brain waves will be difficult to create interesting results?
- Brandon’s done a few projects with data input, but he doesn’t typically lean that way for his works. He recommended keeping a tone in mind that corresponds to your data/purpose, and he does not think it will be difficult to get interesting results from brain waves.
3) How do you feel about the potential of generative art as a sort of mock data visualization? What do you think could be useful in terms of coding to facilitate this purpose?
- The ability to compare stills for mock data visualization will depend on the code created. There has to be a certain amount of flexible and a certain amount of structure in order to be able to prevent images from being way too similar, or way too different. There must be common elements, and a certain range of variance, which can be in the form of shapes, colors, sounds, etc. If the right balance is struck, mock data visualization will be possible!
4) Is this program something you could see yourself using/interacting with?
- While I forgot to ask this question, Brandon talked about how working with data for his works isn’t something he does very often at all. He expressed interest and optimism about using data, and he mentioned that he’s looking forward to seeing the final project in Merrill.
5) What do you think the potential pitfalls of this project are? Where should I be more concerned?
- Finding the balance between the controlled and the random will be difficult. However, moving forward, keep a tone in mind. Think about your presentation of your piece and about how fresh eyes will view your project. Try to make your message come across, especially in the generated art!
After talking with Brandon, I started to realize that I’ve been thinking of the project in almost a research-y sense. I want this to be a fun and exciting experience for my users and my viewers, and that needs to come across in the presentation, the art generation, and the prompts, too. Brandon recommended always keeping the tone you want in mind, and I want this piece to be whimsical and exciting and fun for everyone involved. I’ve started thinking of this piece more as an art exhibition as opposed to a serious research-based project, and hopefully that will show more as this project progresses!