Category Archives: Event

FOTB Follow-up

Thanks to everyone who attended my session this morning at Flash on the Beach. From the stage, I saw nothing but darkness – so I hope not too many people were using the hour to take a quick nap. Here are some links to projects I showed during the presentation, as well as the reading list I showed briefly at the end of the session.

As always, I’d love to hear questions and feedback –

Brighton, Beach, Boston & Beer

Fall is sneaking up on us fast, and with it comes two brand new Flash conferences that I will be speaking at: Flash on the Beach, and Flash on Tap. At both conferences, I will be presenting a new session titled Emergence, in which I will sneak peak some brand new work, and talk in detail about my ongoing Colour Economy project. Here’s the session description:

Emergence refers to the way that complex systems and patterns arise out of relatively simple interactions. In this session we’ll look into some of the ideas behind emergence, and will explore in detail the role it plays in the creative process. We’ll talk about the effects of emergence in a variety of diverse areas, including economies, ecologies, and, of course, barrooms. Along the way, I’ll show a variety of new generative works which tread into emergent territories, and will unravel some of the underlying code that brings these projects to life.

Flash on the Beach is actually in its second year, though this will be my first chance to attend. Held in Brighton, UK, the conference is attracting a big range of speakers, with Flash favourites like Brandan Hall, Mario Klingemann and Robert Hodgin being joined by some interesting outside speakers, like artist Jonathan Harris ( Word from the organizers is that there are only a few tickets left. Last year’s event garnered rave reviews from pretty much everyone involved – I am hoping that FOTB08 will bring more of the same.

The new kid on the conference block is Flash on Tap. Yes, this conference is exactly what you (and I!) hoped it might be – a conference combined with a beer festival. The three day conference is scheduled with mornings of one-hour presentations followed by afternoon keynote sessions on the second and third day – the first day consists of workshops. On all three days there are beer-themed events in the evening – beer tastings, parties, and other events. Not surprisingly, the flash/beer combo has attracted a stellar list of speakers – though I noticed reading the bios that a few of the speakers don’t drink beer at all! Scandalous! Flash on Tap runs October 7th, 8th, and 9th. You can register for the conference on the website.

Generative Art at SXSW?

I recently finished reading James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds. The basic thesis of the book is that decisions made by groups are often better than the decisions that could have been made by any single member of that group. It’s fairly well laid-out, and while I found it lacking in certain areas and a bit repetitive at times, it was a good read and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in crowd psychology and economics.

Someone over at SXSW Interactive clearly believes in the wisdom of crowds, as they are letting the public have some say on which panels will be part of their annual interactive conference. For the third year in a row, you can use their Panel Picker to cast your votes. Of course, if you read the fine print, the SXSW staff and advisory board have a larger overall say in what gets programmed (30% panel picker, 30% staff, 40% advisory board) than the public does. While I suppose this prevents questionable panel ideas from being selected, it seems to also dilute the importance of the Panel Picker. 

And now, for the hard-sell. I am involved in two panel proposals for this year’s SXSW, and would certainly appreciate your votes. Both panels are about generative art, and feature a very diverse and impressive group of potential panelists including Phil Galanter, Mario Klingemann, and Scott Draves. You can cast your votes here:

Generative Art 1

“First popularized by composers such as John Cage and Brian Eno, and fine artists such as Sol Lewitt and Hans Haacke, Generative Art has exploded in the digital age via computer, robotic, and network technologies. Generative artists create and then step away from systems, allowing their machines the autonomy to create, or be, the art. This first of two sessions presents a fast paced survey of randomization, algorithmic mashups, physical computing, and other strategies for creating dynamic art that surprises both the audience and the artist.”

Generative Art 2

“Artists have always learned from nature. Complexity science provides a new interdisciplinary understanding of systems in nature such as ant colonies, weather patterns, the brain, the mind, evolution, the rise and fall of human societies, and more. This second of two sessions presents an advanced look at how generative artists are harnessing complexity through the use of genetic algorithms, chaos, cellular automata, artificial life, neural networks, L-systems, reaction diffusion systems, and more. We’ve seen the future of art and it’s beautifully complex!”