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Algorithm Map Paintings
Overview: ideas and intentions
In contemporary experience, media-saturated and data-driven, human and computer decisions – and corresponding actions – are increasingly intertwined. The technological precision of the machine operates in conjunction with the errors and inflections of the individual humans who program the computers and enter the data. My works are metaphors for this blend of the human and the machine, combining the hands-off exactitude of computer programming with the hands-on discipline of traditional art making, merging a sense of technological precision with the visible presence of the human hand.  As such, the work explores involuntary gesture, the inflections and irregularities which indicate the presence of a human hand yet stand apart from individualistic/expressionistic gesture, the arena which has historically dominated the very notion of gesture.

Authorship is shared; as artist/programmer, I code the program that drives the computer, which determines composition via random number generation, creating output which then directs my hand. My work maps the output of computer algorithms, a practice significantly different from using the computer purely as a tool or facilitator. Code structure generates visual structure, and each individual execution of the code generates the map for a unique artwork.

Each work begins inside the computer using a custom program that I have designed and authored. First, a computer algorithm creates data within a flexible ruleset that leaves many decisions up to the computer. Next, the program translates the data, literally mapping the path and decisions of the algorithm to generate a computer image that is then printed to serve as the cartoon for the work.

The algorithm map paintings developed from the notion of a paint droplet as the paint equivalent of a bit (the most basic unit of digital information). The burn drawings originated from a series of experimental drawings made from paper alone.

Algorithm Map Paintings
After transferring the cartoon to a panel, I render each colored dot as a paint droplet, strictly following the computer output while deliberately leaving the occasional error, as when two adjacent droplets merge together. Then, layers of paint are repeatedly built up and removed, using hand processes of painting and sanding which bring my touch and intuitive judgment into the process, such that the droplets become raised dots, surrounded by tiny rings of color.

Electric Burn Drawings
The cartoon is placed on top of a sheet of paper and traced using an electric burn tool.  As a line is traced, the tool burns tiny holes of slightly varying size through both the cartoon and the paper beneath; the size of individual holes is related to how quickly my hand is able to move, as well as whether or not holes are burned repeatedly due to placement at an intersection of two or more lines.

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