OFX 0.10.1 Working on TX2

Posted: February 18, 2019 at 10:55 am

I followed (the English translation of ) this blog post to get openframeworks to build on the Jetson. The aesthetic exploration code written on the shuttle seems to run just as snappy on the Jetson! The only initial issue is that the frame-rate does not seem fixed to vblank, so there is some tearing on rendering. Following is my own notes on the process of getting ofx working on the Jetson, see orig post for details:

sudo ./install_dependencies.sh
vi config.shared.mk

change line 79: armv7l to aarch64

vi config.linuxarmv7l.default.mk

Comment out lines 41-44 and 69-71

Copy the precompiled libs over the arm included libs. (See Japanese blog post for the download link)

cd ~/Downloads/OF10.0lib

mv libkiss.a libs/kiss/lib/linuxarmv7l/

mv libtess2.a libs/tess2/lib/linuxarmv7l/

Compile!

cd ~/src/of_v0.10.1_linuxarmv7l_release/scripts/linux

./compileOF.sh -j4

Solved Full-Resolution Artifacts!

Posted: February 15, 2019 at 11:19 am

It turns out the problem was that the 1920×1920 signal generated by the Jetson by default was 60hz. While this is a valid resolution according to the specs, I think it requires a dual-link DVI and it’s unclear how HDMI effects this. Anyhow I realized that there is also a 30hz 1920×1920 signal in the EDID and using xrandr to use that resolution resolved the 60hz artifacts. Now that I think about it, my post to the nvidia developer forum does make sense, since I was initially running on DVI and changed to HDMI to rule out the cable. Turns out when I switched from DVI to HDMI, the GeForce card automatically switched from 60hz to 30hz and I did not notice.

I did have some issues making my changes stick on boot, as documented in the post linked above. After installed xubuntu, I can only assume its xrandr-based display settings allowed my preferred 30hz resolution stick on boot.


NVIDIA Jetson TX2 Arrived!

Posted: February 13, 2019 at 10:51 am

The machine-learning embedded platform (NVIDIA Jetson) arrived last week! This is the board I chose for the Zombie Formalist so I could get decent GPU accelerated facial recognition with hopefully low power use and noise. The board is less hackable than I was expecting (e.g. switches are surface mounted!) so I may need to get a different board for the final work. So I installed Jetpack 3.3 and hooked up the square display to find a problem… (more…)


Paul Mogensen

Posted: February 13, 2019 at 10:09 am

“no title (Earth Red)”, Paul Mogensen, 1969

“No Title”, Paul Mogensen, 1973

I’ve finally finished all three volumes of Claudine Humblet’s The New American Abstraction (1950–1970)! This will conclude the bulk of my art-historical research for the Zombie Formalist, though I expect to look back at these artists as a continue to refine the visual aesthetic of the work. (more…)


Agnes Martin

Posted: January 31, 2019 at 2:51 pm

“Summer”, Agnes Martin, 1964

“Untitled #2”, Agnes Martin, 1992

It has been a while since I got back to my research on colour field painters. Martin is one of the very few women in the field who gained prominence and provides a good precedent for the grid and a systematic (but not rigidly so) compositional process.

Like other painters in the field, Martin aims for a “pursuit of the essential” (Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction (1950–1970)). Martin’s lack of rigidity in the system is manifest in slight variations in her composition, for example the position of the dots in the “Summer” above. This is described as a “constant vibration” (Ibid.) and is “…far removed from the ‘impersonality’ once hoped for from geometric form.” (Ibid.) Martin’s emphasis on perception, where the viewer  completes the work, is consistent with other painters focused on perception: “The observer makes the painting.” (Martin quoted by Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction (1950–1970)) This again connects very well with the Zombie Formalist that is an empty mechanism with no intention whose random actions are given value and meaning through the attention of the viewer.


Dense Circles

Posted: December 29, 2018 at 6:10 pm

These are generated the same as the previous circles, except the number of layers is increased from 3 to 10. I focused on circles, but the stripes and chevrons at this density looked very interesting too! With 10 layers that would be at least a 74 item vector that describes the composition! Maybe 5-7 would be sufficient (39-53 item vectors). I think this is enough time with the visual explorations and it’s time to get the Jetson board and see what it can do; I’m also well overdue to start working on face detection and social media integration! I hope the monitor issues work out. I’m even more convinced that square is the way to go.


Stripes…

Posted: December 29, 2018 at 5:39 pm


Chevrons!

Posted: December 29, 2018 at 5:27 pm


The Circles Return!

Posted: December 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Thanks to the OpenFrameworks forum, some code was provided to convert textures from rectangular to polar coordinates. This allowed me to get circles working again! I also tweaked the code quite a bit in regards to the frequencies of sinewaves. In this version sinewaves (and offsets) are randomly selected, but limited to a particular granularity; the result is the frequencies are a lot more constrained and I’ve also lowered the max frequency leading to broader bands. I’m quite happy with these results! I have not looked at how these changes effect the stripe and chevron rendering modes, but I’ll take a look at that soon. Following are a couple of full-resolution selections from above.


H and V Stripes with Offset

Posted: November 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm

I tweaked the code a little more and put the layer by layer offsets back in. I have to say I am happier with these less dense results with offsets and where the frequency is constrained more. The selections below show stripes and chevrons, respectively. Note the skew method (rather than rotation, as mentioned in the last post), means some chevrons may end up as vertical stripes. The offsets are constrained to the same structure as the X translation for chevron and circle compositions (Left, OneThird, Centre, TwoThirds, Right positions).


Horizontal and Vertical Stripes

Posted: November 23, 2018 at 11:37 am

I had in mind an exploration using horizontal and vertical stripes. These end up being very grid-like, but part of that is because the stripes themselves are not offset (where more background is visible), so the stripes fill the whole composition and are quite dense. Somewhat interesting, but even with only two layers they tend to me very dense. Maybe there should be a constraint so that the frequency of the layers are not similar… Also I’m not sure I want to have the chevrons skewed so much as rotated (so that the vertical stripes stay perpendicular to the horizontal stripes in chevrons). I’ll put back in the offset code and will post some of those results later today. Following are images showing the chevron and stripe render modes. I was unable to easily fix the circle rendering due to my misunderstanding of texture coordinates, which previously worked due to 1px tall images used to generate stripes of a single orientation.


Refined Sinewave Stripes with X Offset

Posted: November 22, 2018 at 10:59 am

I refined the code and added a random X offset from a fixed set of intervals. The code was also tweaked a little, but I think I would still like to see a greater range of frequencies. (more…)


Sinewave Stripes

Posted: November 15, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Above is a selection of results from a sine-wave based stripe generator. This allows for few parameters to describe a wide variety of densities. Also, the gaps between stripes, their thickness, and the softness of their edges are parameterized; contrast and threshold parameters allow the sinewaves to become stripes of various widths with edges of various softness. All of these images are generated with 5 layers (one wave per layer). In these results the blur shader is disabled;  any softness is due to the contrast parameter. I’ve included a few strong results below at full resolution… (more…)


Tweaks to transparency, blurred edges and density.

Posted: November 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

The above image shows the results of some code tweaking. I added random transparency to layers (inspired by Paul Reed) and decreased the range of blur. The result is a little more variety of colour and a greater likelihood of hard edge.


Chevrons!

Posted: November 8, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Above is a selection of some explorations of chevrons after Noland and Mehring. I had to add an additional parameter for the angle of the chevrons; for the final implementation I’ll need to make sure all the rendering methods use the same number of parameters. There is also the issue of weighting; the parameters for each layer (stripe) are all equal, but the rendering method (and background colour) have a disproportionate effect on the final composition. This means I may need (if using an MLP) to repeat the number of parameters that represent render method and background colour to increase their weight. Following is a detail of one of the chevrons… (more…)


Howard Mehring

Posted: November 7, 2018 at 5:30 pm

In the Key of Blue II, Howard Mehring, 1965

Mehring certainly enforces my interest in the sine-wave method of generating compositional elements (due to his emphasis on rhythm, musicality and repetition). His inverted ‘T’ compositions (like the one above) emphasize a central axis of symmetry and his work with chevrons encourages me to investigate chevrons.


Softer Gradients and Moiré Patterns

Posted: November 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm

I forgot that I had already written code to increase the amount of blur in a shader (written for my early grant applications years ago); I just had not tried to use very large blur amounts since I had not looked at that shader code! In the images above, the max blur is the whole width of the display (1920) so very soft and subtle gradients are possible. To emphasize this increased blur, I used only two layers on top of the background. The following image shows one of these subtle variations at full size. (more…)


Gene Davis

Posted: October 29, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Hot Beat, Gene Davis, 1964

Gene Davis was one of my initial inspirations for the Zombie Formalist. I did not find a lot of conceptual overlap compared with some of the other colour field painters. There is an interesting separation between ‘structure’ and colour that I had not considered; part of Davis’ motivation was to emphasize colour over ‘structure’, but what does ‘structure’ mean? This position is in the context of considering colour field painting as an ‘alternative’ to Abstract Expressionism. I initially though structure meant line, but Abstraction Expressionism does not depend on line either. Is the rejected structure the brush / drip structure in Abstract Expressionism? I was thinking about how art gets pushed forward by rejecting the dominant approach in relation to my own work. Could I be embarking on this hard-edge and restrained aesthetic as a rejection of the exploding popularity of GAN and CNN approaches to image making? (more…)


New Square EIZO Display!

Posted: October 25, 2018 at 10:33 am

Here is an image of my workspace showing a visual explorations on the new ~27″ square display. This is the display that the Zombie Formalist will be built around. Its a nice IPS panel with very good colour and the scale and resolution (1920×1920) is indeed impressive. I could get used to making work for this display… The more I think about it, the more I see the ZF hardware platform as a basis for many different bodies of work.


Vertical and Concentric Stripes with Offset

Posted: October 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm

I added some code to randomly offset the whole set of stripes so that compositions can be unevenly weighted from the centre to the edges, or from the left to the right. This increases the variety of compositions significantly. The following images are all generated by the same program with 30 stripes with random offsets that are rendered as circles or vertical stripes. The next step will be to increase the range of possible blur amounts. I’ve also included a few full resolution images: (more…)


Concentric Stripes after Kenneth Noland.

Posted: October 19, 2018 at 3:21 pm

I finished some code that renders stripes as concentrically as inspired by Kenneth Noland. I’ve included a selection with 2 and 30 stripes, respectively. I’m quite happy with these results, but I noticed some aliasing issues with hard-edged stripes and a couple artifacts. Since these are explorations and not written for the target hardware I won’t worry about it yet. I’ve included a couple full resolution images for the new square screen at the bottom of this post.

(more…)


Kenneth Noland

Posted: September 10, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Gift, Kenneth Noland, 1961-62

Summer Plain, Kenneth Noland, 1967

Another Time, Kenneth Noland, 1973

I don’t really have anything to write about Kenneth Noland on a conceptual level; the variety of his work is very interesting in the context of the ZF. I chose three bodies of work to show different possible directions of structural exploration. The ‘target’, in particular, is interesting since technically, it’s stripes using a polar coordinate system. This means it should not be very difficult to explore some of these structures.


Ellsworth Kelly

Posted: September 7, 2018 at 6:42 pm

Colors for Large Wall, Ellsworth Kelly, 1951

It is probably my bias towards these particular painters, but I continue to be surprised to the degree I find an affinity with their processes and artistic intentions, especially considering the gap in time and media.

Kelly shares with me an interest in an artistic practise that is “impersonal” with an emphasis on “anonymity” (ambiguity in my interpretation) and a rejection of “expression”. Kelly often finds formal inspiration in the world around him, that is then abstracted in his painting process. This seems quite interesting in the context of my machines using cameras to capture their environments in order to generate novel forms, images and structures that are not predictable nor perfect representations of the world. There is also the inquiry into objects, perception and the relation between form and ground that connect deeply with my works framed as “Subjective Machines”. Kelly and I also share and interesting emphasis on fragmentation, especially in the context of his early work with collage reconstruction and the use of chance operations. Kelly’s interest in autonomy where a work “adjusts itself” and his use of chance are highly relevant to the ZF. As is also his interest in anonymity and the impersonal.


Dense Stripes

Posted: September 6, 2018 at 3:04 pm

After my last post on Karl Benjamin, I modified my stripe code to increase density and the following images show a selection of the results. Compositions are selected for variety and not necessarily aesthetic success. The code in the first case draws 25 stripes, but since the width of stripes could be as wide as the whole picture plane, many stripes are occluded.

The following images show an increase of density with 100 and 1000 stripes respectively. In these explorations I also sort the stripes by width so that the thinnest stripes will be on top to increase the visual density; there can still be occlusion thus not all the stripes will be visible. I pushed these explorations to the limit in order to get a sense of what maximal density could look like. It will be interesting to see how the sine-wave approach works out where there will be just as much density of stripes, but also more constraint in terms of colour variation. (more…)


Karl Benjamin

Posted: August 30, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Vertical Stripes #5, Karl Benjamin, 1960

I’m most interested in Benjamin’s stripe paintings. It is interesting that, as noted by Claudline Humblet, that colour values in his paintings are non-systematic (diverging from other stripe painters) such that each stripe has its own autonomy. I was thinking about this in the context of the autonomy of each of the stripes in the current sketch of the Zombie Formalist. The ZF stripes are totally independent and have no relation to one an other; in some cases one stripe may cover up another entirely.

Benjamin’s process provides an interesting precedence for the ZF as only thinking about each image component in isolation and not being concerned with overall composition or colour constraint. The value of the overall composition is determined solely by the viewer (as modelled by the machine), so why not provide as much variety as possible?

This also may influence the generative approach where I’ve been torn about using an evolutionary method. With an evo approach, there is some stability in the structure of successive generations. Another option is to use a critic (that models the viewer’s sense of value) that is allied to constantly regenerated paintings. This way there is no successive development over time; each painting is unique, fleeting and does not persist through successive generations. Interestingly, Claudine Humblet writes that Benjamin has used chance operations in his colour selection, which fits very well a non-evo approach where each composition has maximal autonomy. This is also consistent with Benjamin’s process orientation that “accepts the sometimes unexpected results that arise from the process” (Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction (1950–1970)).

At this point I have three directions of aesthetic exploration for the ZF: (a) Increasing the number of stripes in the current system significantly (I counted as many as 25 stripes in one of Benjamin’s compositions); (b) Use the sine-wave approach to increase the range of possible number of stripes; (c) a sine-wave approach where the parameters are constrained to force a grid-like relation between the different sine-waves. The latter would cut against the autonomy of the sine-waves, but it’s worthwhile exploration. Maybe I’ll completely change my mind once I get to Gene Davis!


John McLaughlin

Posted: August 24, 2018 at 11:47 am

Untitled, John McLaughlin, 1951

McLaughlin is another painter with whom I see a lot of conceptual resonance. He was interested in the ‘void’ in Japanese painting in relation to our relationship to nature and the universe. This is somewhat mirrored in my interests in origination and the state of the universe before the big bang, and my ongoing question of the ground in relation to the object.

McLaughlin had an interest in “replacing” the “excess of individual expression with a “neutral structure” (quotes from Claudine Humblet’s language). This “neutral structure” (McLaughlin’s language) emphasizes the anonymity of the painter-as-subject. The void in his works is a lack of the painter’s subjectivity that is restrained in order to allow the viewers’ subjectivity / knowledge / experience to dominate. This is certainly compatible with my interests in self-erasure and process over expression in art. (more…)


Poor Zombie Formalist sketches.

Posted: August 22, 2018 at 4:21 pm

The image above shows a selection of results from the same code used to generate the initial sketches used in Zombie Formalist proposals (included below). I just got access to this code recently as it was on the Shuttle PC used for the Watching and Dreaming exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery.

I thought it would be interesting to take another look at these results after doing some of my colour field painting research. One insight is that even though this system is highly random, it often produces some quite interesting results; in fact most of the results are somewhat successful (as much as 75%). I’ve selected a few that lean towards being unsuccessful to contrast with the somewhat successful initial sketches. I think part of the reason for the high proportion of stronger compositions is due to the their simplicity (in particular the number of stripes); this is despite the softness of edges, widths and colours being random and evenly distributed.

For the next iteration I’m considering a generator that would allow for much more flexibility and variety; this will likely decrease the number of compositionally successful results due to a lack of constraint. The plan is to allow a much greater diversity in terms of image density and orientation. (more…)


Ad Reinhardt

Posted: August 21, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Abstract Painting Number 4, Ad Reinhardt, 1961

There is quite a bit about Ad Reinhardt that resonates with this project. Thomas B. Hess saw Reinhardt as being an “inventor of patterns, not of forms”, which is interesting to consider in relation to the Zombie Formalist generative approach and the notion of pattern as form. There is also the emphasis on the square in his later work, and also his adherence to near  invisibility due to extreme low contrast (as in image above). In viewing such dark images on my display I realized my reflection was much more dominant than the content, which plays nicely with the machine that watches the viewer.

The focus on timelessness and universality is interesting and Claudine Humblet in The New American Abstraction (1950–1970), asserts that Reinhardt’s work “rediscovers a certain origin of the mystery of creation”. This is an interesting mirror of my interests in computation and generative art in relation to origination. For Reinhardt, “pure painting” should be devoid of emotional and intellectual content and whose meaning is not detachable or translatable, independent, which may be the case in the meaningless works of the ZF. The notion of the New Academy emphasizes a lack of texture, brushwork or calligraphy, sketching or drawing, forms, design, colours, light, space, time, size or scale, movement, object, subject, matter which seems quite aligned with the ZF.

There is also Ad Reinhardt’s rejection of commercialism and assertion that art should be useless that is interesting in the context of the ZF being a pure generator, but one constrained and shaped by the whims and behaviour of the viewer, disrupting the random processes and perhaps enabling scarcity. The ZF could be somehow both an example of a “pure” art, but also an anti-pure art.


Barnett Newman

Posted: August 2, 2018 at 6:47 pm

Covenant, Barnett Newman, 1949

Barnett Newman was one of the main references when I first starting thinking through the “zip” (vertical stripe) aesthetic for this project. While Newman fits in with Rothko in terms of a borderline fetishization of the primal, I see quite a few overlapping concerns. Like, me Newman also sees art as being rigorous and removed from chance or the arbitrary. Newman also sees art as a mission to contest styles and conventions, which is interesting the context of my thinking about art as a process of articulating what art is.

Newman was also highly preoccupied with the concept of origination, the origin of the universe in particular. In his context, this takes on a spiritual / religious connotation, whereas I am interested in scientific bases of origination. It was actually this idea of origination that motivated my grad studies and interest in dreams and creativity. This probing of origination or foundations of structure connects with his interest in starting from a tabula rasa and questioning the foundations of geometry. This is challenging to algorithmic work limited to a particular set of possible geometries computed by the machine. In my case, perhaps, the geometry of sine-waves. There is still a question of composition though, sine-waves are more a underlying vocabulary and do not define the whole of the compositional system.

Highly relevant to the ZF is Newman’s interest in the Sublime that transcends “categories of value” which relates to the critique of art as commodity implicit in the ZF. Again, we have an interesting relation between the artists work and the viewer. As described by Claudine Humblet in The New American Abstraction (1950–1970), Newman’s works’ “…sole aim is to convey the space against which Man measures himself.” This is very interesting considering my previous reflections on the work (the AI enabled work in particular) as a mirror of our understanding of ourselves. In the context of this project, this space could be the machine (as external model of cognition), or even social media itself. Newman wanted the viewer to gain an awareness of themselves through the work; not just a surface awareness of self, but self as a ‘totality’ both connected to separated from others, mirroring my interest subjectivity as the projection of imaginary boundaries.


Mark Rothko

Posted: July 26, 2018 at 6:26 pm

Red Orange Orange on Red, Mark Rothko, 1962

When I did my first sketches of colour fields I had Rothko in mind when I used a blur shader to soften some of the hard edges. Now I’m thinking about using sine waves with various contrasts to provide both stripes and softer gradients. This way I can represent highly dense images without increasing the number of parameters. For example, this could allow things like one pixel alternating stripes in complimentary colours that was inspired by the stippling patterns in some of Robert Irwin’s work.

There is certainly some romanticism of ‘primitive’ artworks in Rothko’s early surrealist works, which are strange to read from a contemporary post-colonial perspective. The background of the work certainly reads as Modernist and there is an influence of Jungian archetypes, dreams, the unconscious and states of consciousness. During this period there is an interesting attempt to fuse a social awareness with formalism. Rothko has an interesting perspective on evolution of style, as quoted from Claudine Humblet’s The New American Abstraction (1950–1970): “The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer.” This seems quite aligned with some of my thinking during my Masters where the act of art-making allows what is technically possible to change what the concept of a work is. There is also that sense of the work blending with the experience of the viewer to create a unity of experience. One small formalist point of note is that Rothko intentionally avoided exploiting colour theory, which is an interesting precedent for the ZF, whose use of colour will be highly unconstrained.