String Theory

String Theory
Posted by on Jul 4, 2014

Moments in time are like individual ephemeral images layered on top of each other, ones that we usually process individually. The question arises, what happens when these scenes are amalgamated, blended, mixed, layered, and stacked in such a way as to become indistinguishable from each other? Do new details arise?

This post represents the next series of generative art designs I am creating. The gallery below contains the images produced by this program; the program I created for this project has the same spirit as the previous one, Artificial Artist, albeit with different principles. Whereas Artificial Artist was a foray into the field, String Theory represents a development of my artistic coding skills specifically for this new medium. Here, I have attempted to add behavioral elements and physical interaction to the system of Artificial Artist.

At the core of the program are three elements, Attractors, Emitters, and Agents. As their names suggest, the emitters are constantly discharging point agents, which feel a variable attractive force from the attractors. What is key is that every single attractor exerts a pulling force on every single agent, in fidelity with the gravitational paradigm. The equation I used to structure the behavior of the system is the same equation used to calculate gravitational attraction of macroscopic bodies. This has the effect of making the entire system an accurate representation of 2D reality. The pictures below are themselves the layered sequences of images showing the agents’ motion.

However, the resultant images would be quite lackluster if the attractor and emitter elements weren’t moving. In order to animate the system further, I coded behavioral motion into the attractor and emitter objects. Each respective set moves along a path defined by the Noise function, developed by Ken Perlin in the 1980s for Disney’s Tron (you can read more about it here). The Noise function itself is a structured randomness function, created to model behaviors in nature that superficially appear random, but in fact have too many variables to be purely random motion. The classic example is the movement of a honeybee in a field of wildflowers. The attractors and emitters move along their paths, but once they hit the edge of the window, they are relocated to a random location in the space.

Unfortunately, this program was too resource consuming to create a scaled JavaScript version, but I have included a video below that shows the “live action” version of the agents’ movement. The attractor and emitters are hidden, but you can sometimes glimpse them when they are silhouetted by the agents. The agents’ motion may appear completely random, but as the images in the gallery show, structure can be seen in the paths the agents take.

For each image, I altered an aspect of the program. Some are obvious like the agents’ colors. Others are less apparent, like the number of elements in the system and rate of particle emission.

The video is best seen in full screen. The gallery images can be expanded to full screen.

In addition, this project is on Github , for anyone to view and modify. It can be found here



Artificial Artist

Artificial Artist
Posted by on Apr 6, 2014

Technology has influenced all spheres of life, from communication to health to art. What many people don’t realize is the extent to which art has not just been changed, but supplemented by technology. Math and logic form the basis of all aspects of nature, especially art. Our minds are built in such a way that the innate logical and mathematical calculations we perform are so natural, that when writing a song, painting a picture, or performing any other artistic process, we do them unconsciously.

This post represents a new avenue of creative exploration that I will be pursuing and sharing. Computer code, though it may seem like a mundane and uninventive medium in fact has a vast wealth of possible creative pursuits. Just as a saw may not appear be a creative tool to anyone but the artistically minded carpenter, code is a tool, all one needs to do is learn how to use it.

The process of art making can be broadly divided into two actions, the concept that forms in the mind and the hand or other limb that implements the mind’s concept. What I have attempted to achieve with the Artificial Artist is the segregation of the two. When I started this project, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve, but no idea as to how to implement it. By transferring the actual drawing process to the computer, the hand that draws gets separated from the mind. Ultimately, I designed the program to be self sufficient; rather than being a puppet to my strings, it is self driven and doesn’t require mine or any other entity’s input (both literally and figuratively). The idea may have originated in my mind, but it is visualized by the computer.

For those who would like to know, the program was originally written in Java, but I have included a slightly simplified JavaScript implementation at the bottom of this page that shows the drawing process. It is designed to refresh every thirty seconds. Since the program draws its root from variables that change with every refresh, the pattern drawn will be different each time. The genre of art that this falls into is relatively new, only having arisen in the last 60 years or so. It is called generative media.


Artifical Artist-1

Artifical Artist-3

Artifical Artist-6

Artifical Artist-5

Artifical Artist-4

Artifical Artist-2

Artifical Artist-7

Alone

Alone
Posted by on Sep 11, 2013

Lonely Flower Siddharth Atre The Seventh Line

What is it about us that abhors solitude? Disregarding a few eccentrics, the vast majority of humanity cannot tolerate being alone for more than a certain period of time. Sole survivors of naval and airplane accidents often tell stories of hallucinating and sometimes even going insane just from the trauma of being utterly alone. We are social organisms and we cannot live without companionship. Like fish out of water, humans will desperately search for other humans when they realize that they are isolated. Why is this? What inherent quality inside us causes us to be like this?

One at a Time

One at a Time
Posted by on Apr 3, 2013

Siddharth Atre The Seventh Line Flowers Buds Plants Macro

Why is that the human mind often finds itself in a position where it is simply unable to focus on one thing? Different minds exhibit differing amounts of severity of this aspect, but it manifests itself in all of us. The list of priorities lie stacked up one after another, but we are never able to sufficiently reduce our depth of field such that we only focus on one at a time. Stray thought are constantly causing our mental pupils to contract and our gazes to widen, until we are distracted to the extent that we focus on many things at once. The ability to blur out background elements and show with clarity what needs to be done is an ability that is possessed by very few. Our cognitive apertures are unable to lock themselves, we sometimes manage to momentarily suppress them, but our scattered conscious always manages to break the lock.

Death on the Water

Death on the Water
Posted by on Jan 13, 2013

Death on the Water Siddharth Atre The Seventh Line

Change is a natural part of life. It is as unstoppable as it is omnipresent. Environmental systems around us are in a constant state of change, as they adapt to the times. However, in nature, change for the most part tends to be slow paced, and is measured in weeks and months, if not years. Problems arise when humans enter the scene. We cause change too quickly, too abruptly, not giving the ecosystem time to recover and adapt to our presence. This is compounded by our burgeoning population.

However, given time and ability, a society of organisms will always adapt itself to the new environment. The above photo was taken at the Kabini River nature reserve. Over 30 years ago, a dam was built which caused the river to swell and much of the land to be drowned. This had a devastating effect on the local ecology. However, 39 years down the line, and same area is a thriving biodiversity sanctuary. This recovery was made possible due to the area being protected when the reserve was founded. The skeletons of trees that once hummed with life, now provide perch for the myriad species of birds that live in the reserve. The water that once drowned much of the animal and plant population now provides sustenance for the entire forest.

And So the Wheel Turns

And So the Wheel Turns
Posted by on Oct 2, 2012

 

Every year, a new batch of students leaves and a new one arrives. The second-years act like parents to the first-years until it is the first-years’ turn to shoulder the responsibility of guiding the next batch.  Since each year is different, the way the second-years look at the first-years is different each year. The second-years worry and fret about their first-years, and every-year the second-years feel that their some underlying problem with the first years. The depth and breadth of this anxiety changes every year, but it is there nevertheless. But as always, one batch will replace another, and in turn be replaced by another, and so on as long as our school lasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teardown

Teardown
Posted by on Jul 18, 2012

Steve Jobs’ father, Paul Jobs, taught his son that no matter how complicated a piece of technology is, it should be as beautiful on the inside as the outside. He was a mechanic. Though the computer I recently took apart did not fulfill his maxim in any way at all, I believe that the internal components themselves, have a certain ethereal beauty to them.

 

When viewed at the macro level, the circuit boards gained a whole new definition for me. The phosphoric green background could be likened to the backdrop of a jungle with the occasional colorful fruit hanging out. The variety and species of component living on the board make it an absolute wonder to gaze at, up close and personal. Here, the hierarchy is evident, with the majority of the food (electricity) going to the king, the CPU.

 

One could also liken the electronic world on the circuit board to a city, one with skyscrapers towering above the rabble below. Power plants, streets, vehicles are all there, all you have to do is look for them. Just as many high-rise buildings in our world ascribe to the glass and steel mentality, the buildings in this little world have a striking uniformity of shape. However, the architects of this miniature world strived to make each building unique, with each structure having its own unique name imprinted on it.

The computer from which these parts originated was an ancient Compaq notebook. It hails from an era in which the most common desktop OS was Microsoft Windows 95. It represents the time when computers were heavier than briefcases and as unfriendly as their operating systems. That era has fortunately been long gone, and we are now part of one which places the emphasis on the user, and how he/she interfaces with the device.

Through The Goldfish Bowl

Through The Goldfish Bowl
Posted by on Apr 12, 2012

 

Our senses limit us and at the same time free us. We have no way of knowing whether the picture that they paint of reality is the real one. The way a goldfish in its bowl sees the world is very different from the way that we perceive it. Everything that it sees is in curves. A goldfish would formulate its own understanding from the information that its senses collect. If we were able to communicate with the goldfish and show it that its version of the world was wrong, it would reject that, as from the information that it has, there is only one perception of the world, its own. Similarly, if we were to be presented with a completely alternate perception of the world, we would be unable to comprehend it, as our senses do not have the ability to do so.

Remember…

Remember…
Posted by on Feb 7, 2012

People have fond memories of their childhood. They have good reasons too. Children are the only organisms on Earth that can go from day to day without a snag of worry or doubt. We can experience the most happiness when we are children. The innocence of childhood is unmatched. They run, the jump, they fall down, they cry. But they get back up again and continue to run. Later, when they are grown, they fuss over the details too much and let their apprehension lead them astray. Friendships made when we are young can last our whole lives, for even when we bicker, we remember the bright memories that bonded us together.

 

Sunset Years

Sunset Years
Posted by on Jan 10, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inexorable passage of life can be seen everywhere, even in the path of the sun across the sky. The effect of the harbinger of light, the sun, entering the world is similar to that of an infant. Both are welcomed with joy by the ones waiting to receive them. As time passes, they only grow in strength and reach the pinnacle of their development . But soon, decline sets in. As age progresses, then we get ready to fade. The final hours can be the most important as they are the one in which we aspire to leave our memories behind, so that the ones who knew us remember us when we are gone. In a way, the sunset years are the most important part of our life.