with-lasers

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March 03, 2022

In my dissertation, I'm examining how in my practice, I create assemblies of objects which feel like they become some interesting when joined together, and allow me to create and explore concepts, which ultimately end up as the work I produce. This for me mirrors, the design of computational systems, and it perhaps isn't surprising that as someone with a background in software development this is how I look at the world.

An example of the importance of these units, is very apparent to me at this point in time. After a few years of creating various works, I'm starting to realise what the things are that I repeat over and over again - and often become an impediment to realising an idea, when I realise I need to spend time creating code, I've already created (inevitably, previous iterations of one of these blocks of code, are not quite suitable for the current task, or I've realised I didn't do them very well the first time round).

I've therefore started to create, some reusable elements in my coding practice - specifically at this point in time, addons for Openframeworks, which mean I can start a project quickly and know I have access to the elements I want to use straight away. Currently I'm working on some mathematical functions I use a lot, and finding some ways of making these easier to use. Specifically I'm focussing on various transformations (translation, scale, rotate) and the ability to easily apply these to a point, or selection of points. As a useful side effect of this, I can create a small application I've been wanting for a while, which lets the user see the effect of combining translations quickly - as I often get confused as the correct order, so this lets me test these in a visual way.

Once I've created this, it allows me to create a more fundamentally lightweight version of the Harmonographs I've been using, where they can be more easily be described and computed. Thus making using these in new ways a more approachable task, for example, I'd like to look at using a Harmonograph as a trigger for events, one example being like a sequencer / drum machine, where specific objects attached to them, trigger a sounds when a specific plane is crossed.

As I continue to read Sara Ahemed's What's The Use, and Karen Barad's Meeting the Universe Halfway, it's interesting to think about how these formal recognitions, and materialisation of very specific bits of my practice, further enable the richer growth of that practice. It is I believe visible in the work of both Steven Latham and Andy Lomas, that they both exploit the idea of not just creating the code which produces the artistic output, but managing, and improving the process of creating those works. I would argue, that much of the richness of their work stems from this efficiency of not reinventing the wheel every time.

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