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Category Archives: Writings

Use of software in the arts can be separated into two categories: production and conception. In the first, the computer is used to produce a preconceived form; in the second, the computer participates in the development of the form.

Using a computer to reduce the amount of time needed to create a complex, repetitive composition was often the motivation for early adoption of software into creative process. EG. in the field of animation where subtle changes had to be repeated thousands times. It is efficient way of facilitating the creative process by enabling mroe time for exploration and less time for final production.


The desire to construct a system for composing images, rather than making a single image, has a long history in modern art. Marcel Duchamp’s 3 Standard Stoppages from 1913-1914 is an early and fascinating example. (other names: Experimental writers Tristan Tzara and William S. Burroughs, Musician John Cage)

While it’s clear that these early compositional systems relied heavily on chance, these artworks are important within the context of parameters in that each of their creators defined a set rules where some elements were selected by themselves and others resulted from events outside of their control. They invented systems from which an infinite number of unique works could (and did) emerge. This way of working is summarized well by Sol LeWitt’s statement:”The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”(Alexander Alberro an Blake Stimson, eds., Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology


egs: The Whale Hunt by Jonathan Harris


Is modelling the natural world with precision the ultimate goal of software simulation? In some situations, the answer is a definite yes; for example, scientific weather and traffic simulations are only useful when they are realistic. Within other domains, such as design, architecture, and art, high fidelity is less important than the final experience. Bending the rules can create something unexpected and sublime. Simulation can be a precise tool, but also a foundation for something beyond.

Every simulation has three parts: variables, a system, and a state.

The ability to simulate physics has had a substantial impact on architecture and engineering. These tools allow engineers to simulate how forces and loads move through virtual structures. Based on the outcome, the model is modified and the simulation is run again until an optimal combination of structure and material is found. (e.g. CCTV Tower (David Owen, “The Anti-Gravity Men,” The New Yorker))


Perhaps the most famous piece of creative software is Harold Cohen’s AARON>


Karl Sims’ Evolved Virtual Creatures, created in 1994, was a breakthrough in a-life. The project is so convincing that it remains relevant over fifteen years later. Through software, Sims was able to simulate the evolution of creatures to perform different tasks, such as swimming, walking, jumping, and following. Eventually he added the ability for two creatures to compete against one another to control possession of a cube. He did this by simulating the basic physical properties of gravity, friction, and collision, and then building creatures that could evolve at amazingly fast rates through cross breeding and mutation. The genotype of his creatures is a directed graph, and the phenotype is a hierarchy of 3-D parts. At each generation, some creatures were allowed to survive and reproduce based on their fitness, how well they performed the current task. For example, how well did they swim, walk, jump, or follow? To communicate the results, Sims produced an appealing series of short animations that featured the creatures in action. The most fascinating aspect of the project was the diversity of strategies the creatures developed to meet their goals. Despite the primitive geometry and limited joints, they had the essence of living, self-motivated animals.

Other eg: NASA X-band antenna. NASA claims the generated designs have potential to outperform those designed by expert engineers. Additionally, the generated antennae often have radically different forms compared to those designed by hand. In general, GAs have the potential to find unique forms that more traditional design approaches overlook.

GAs and evolutionary thinking have played an important role in contemporary architectural theory and practice. John Frazer’s 1995 book An Evolutionary Architecture presents the genetic algorithm as a technique for creating novel forms that bridge the form-function divide. Theorist Karl Chu has explored the intersection of computer and genetic code as an avenue for exploring possible futures.


Cellular Automata (e.g.s Stephen Wolfram)


Unnatural Selection: Designer as a gardener, choosing favourite specimens and culling weeds to encourage the system to grow in a desired direction. (e.g Evolutionary Computation by moh architects, Strandbeest by Theo Jansen)




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Tomoyuki Kambe is a Japanese artist who works mostly with natural materials in his artworks, and they usually depict scenes in nature. His works exude calmness and serenity and the same can be said for his working methods and working philosophy. The artist was born near a river in Gifu (the Nagara river I think) and takes the river as his main source of inspiration for his paintings.

Here are a few of his works:


Tomoyuki Kambe_Swirl

The artist remarked that he thought these goldfishes of different colours of yellows, reds, and blacks, portray how he though the world should be. To him, the world should be a place which is filled with diversity.

Tomoyuki Kambe_At his usual place

Tomoyuki Kambe_The future when I don't look yet

I believe just as the world is made up of multitude of microscopic creatures, and similarly, our society draws on a variety of smaller components for direction and shape. 

~Tomoyuki Kambe

When painting a picture of crabs, like the one below for instance, the artist will first go to the river to catch some crabs and observe them for a period of time. After that he will start to work on his paintings with the help of assistants.

Tomoyuki Kambe_ Personal Space

A member of the audience asked “What do you do with the animals after that? Do you eat them?”

The artist laughed and waved his hands in the air and replied “I cannot”. He said something along the lines of all life, no matter how small, is sacred. He says that he sometimes names the animals and keeps them as pets. He thus has a lot of animals in his house, both live ones and preserved ones.

Here are some of the materials which the artist uses

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The artist talked about a kind of Japanese paint called Iwaenogu. It can be made by grinding different minerals (both natural and synthetic ones), and then mixed with an animal protein called Nigawa which acts as the solvent for the grinded minerals. Although the number of colour sources is limited, various colour tones are obtained by grinding down the pigment; the finer the grains, the lighter the shade produced. If you’re really interested, I scanned in the handout they gave out and you can look at it for more infomation. They are so considerate to give out handouts!

There are apparently different kinds of Iwaenogu, having different rarity and prices.

Image (18) Image (19)

These are some samples of grinded minerals.

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After that the artist demonstrated a method of how he applies gold foil to his works using nigawa(animal protein). Here’s a video of that

Another way he applied it was to place the gold foil into a bamboo tube fitted with a metal gauze at the end. He used a brush to push the gold foil against the metal gauze and made gold sprinkles which can again be stuck onto the paper using nigawa.

He asked for volunteers to try out applying the gold foils, and they got to keep the paper with gold foil on it after that!

There were also sculptural pieces done by some potters on display around the room.

Here is the artist’s site

I really liked the artist’s works and his working methods. He’s really respectful of all life forms, and I think it is interesting how he compares animals to human society. Also, when asked how much does a piece of his work cost, the artist replied that he is only interested in making the artwork, but not in the financial aspects.

On a side note, it is also interesting how the english translation of the title his works, which sometimes sound grammatically wrong, help to retain and enhance the cultural flavour which his works have.

The artist is having an exhibition at the Mandarin Gallery for about a month or so. Do visit!


This pictures captures what I’m feeling so very well and on so many occasions.

I have pictures I want to post from coursework, but I will definitely forget to do so when coursework season is over.

Is there a cure for having a bad memory or should I count it as a blessing?

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Le Brother celebrates his eleventh


Le Leader Kim’s top secret party

Le mini wedding at overplayedd’s 18th.

18 is still young, I can’t wait to become middle-aged.

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Fred Eerdekens is a Belgian artist who skillfully manipulates light and shadow. His works often make use of common objects which are used to block the path of light so that the light rays form a image (often some words) against a blank screen. What is most delightful is that you can never guess from the arrangement of the objects, that they are purposely arranged to cast the shadow of a word. I can imagine it would take much experience and slow, precise trial and errors for the light to form the exact image that you want.

I think such works would be especially great to view first hand, as the audience can interact with the work, to walk by it, try different points of view and interact with the path of light, altering the image formed.

There is  simple joy one can derive from looking at works such at these, that do not force themselves on the viewer, but instead relies how observant the viewer is. When someone looks at these works, I feel like what we marvel at is the concept, the skill of the artist, less so aesthetic quality IMHO when compared to perhaps paintings, animations. Paintings, animation is a medium anyone can work with, and even if you have the skill, your work may still not be that great. Shadow and light is a medium Mr. Eerdekens has chosen specialty in, and i think that even if the words formed are pure utter rubbish, the work is still impressive and eye catching to me.



Other works with the same concept:

Below is by Ethan Park as previously posted before

there’s this one that is located at the cathay in singapore. went by it two times, both fail. I guess this is more bold an attempt, because they seek the sun’s corporation, which might not always be delivered.

making use of light and shadow is a good idea, but can anyone do it?? i have to try it out someday