300 Messages, digital art
300 Messages, digital art.

I know what you’re thinking. It looks like robot vomit, or the cat got into the yarn basket, and we’re seeing it through frosted glass smeared with ketchup and mustard.

Close enough, because it barely holds together, and I’m not sure myself if I like it or not. It is the last in the EXPERIMENTAL text pieces – based largely on chance – this one with 300 short messages on 300 layers. Like the first three pieces most the decisions were based on the results of a random number generator, including the font, size of font, transparency, and rotation. And I don’t choose the colors either! This kind of work is like a game. The random elements give me a sort of puzzle piece to work with, and then I place it where I best think it fits on a layer. Then I go to the next layer and a new puzzle piece. If I don’t like the color, font, or most any other element – and as often as not I don’t – that’s too bad. The texts I type off the top of my head, and the number of words are also dictated by chance.

I was committed to 300 layers, and this meant I had to keep going after times where the piece looked rather good, and stop arbitrarily when it might not. I was curious what so many overlapping layers would look like, and where the process would take me. Incorporating chance will definitely produce unexpected results, but relinquishing control to the unpredictable means trying to shepherd a burgeoning ungodly mess.

Detail of 300 Messages.

In the end I cheated a little and went back and adjusted the composition of a few layers, because the arbitrary stopping point left me on a low point. Toward the end it was like playing backgammon and praying for double ones, but getting fives and sixes. I also used “levels” to boost the contrast a bit, and tweaked the color balance, but I didn’t tamper with any of the random elements.

This experiment is on the far end of letting process and chance determine the course of a piece. But to look at it, it’s a largely decorative abstract work, that barely succeeds in overcoming chaos. I’m not sure if it’s worth putting my name on (not that I sign anything). Maybe this one gets an umlaut and assigned to my evil artist twin, the German conceptual artist, Erich Küns (er, I’m American).

Hmmmm. Wonder what would happen if I did one completely deliberately? Maybe later. I have an appointment with a more painterly work already in progress.

~ Ends

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3 replies on “300 Messages

    1. Glad you like it. It looks better from a distance. Closer in it descends into Chaos. I’m not sure how I feel about these experimental pieces. They were a kind of diversion, but hopefully contribute to my more central work.


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