Wednesday 11 November 2015

Generative print series

For the last year or two I've been doing a lot of live visual performance work - initially via the Algorave movement, leading on to countless chiptune gigs and even the odd festival. This has been a lot of fun, and is very creatively fulfilling, but of course in my usual manner I've tried to keep the momentum up and use my live work to power other stuff.

The latest outlet for this is my new print series, which I've started to put together using my livecoding work as a source. The transient aspect of performances is what really interests me about doing things live - once the set has finished the code no longer exists - and I wanted to really try and capture that in some way.

The premise is quite simple: during live sets I leave a simple capture script running that takes a full-resolution screenshot every couple of seconds, and writes it to an SSD. This generates a really high volume of imagery (1,800 images per hour for those keeping score) which of course form a nice chronological path through whatever transpires at the event.

From there, I use a simple Processing sketch to create a full-res 300DPI image using batches of snapshots - each print is output as an 8x19 grid, or precisely five minutes of performance imagery. These are then giclee printed at A3 on lightly texture heavyweight (300gsm+) stock - big thanks to tokyo sexwhale for handling print duties, they look lovely in the flesh.

The final component of the print is some detailing at the bottom: some subtle lettering outlines the precise date and time each print represents, as well as the longitude and latitude of the location the location of the performance:

This was done intentionally in place of an actual place name, it looks a bit more subtle and might potentially be more appealing to buyers if it's not obviously depicting a particular event.

The final result is something that I'm quite happy with, both in terms of the process involved and the aesthetics. The first outing is at TAGallery in Manchester, as part of a Manchester Moleskine exhibition. One will be on display at the gallery, and anyone who buys a print will receive a completely unique piece - one of the key factors in this print series is that every one is unique and numbered, and part of the deal is that I will not be printing them again. Once the exhibition finishes, I'll be opening my web store up to sell them online.

Anyway, here's six representative prints to give an idea of what I'm getting at (click to view the full size images). If you're in the city at some point between now and January then swing by the TAGallery exhibition and check it out, there's a whole ton of great artists exhibiting.

My plan is to keep recording my sessions and producing artwork from them, in fact the new Manchester Algorave is tomorrow at Texture and I'll be capturing everything there. Hopefully people will dig the prints!

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