Networked_Performance

Live Stage: Scott Draves [us Brooklyn]

Scott Draves: Pioneer of Generative Art :: May 13 – June, 2011 :: Opening: May 13; 7:00 – 10:00 pm :: Devotion Gallery, 54 Maujer Street, Brooklyn, NY.

What is the relationship between man and machine? Is open source a sustainable way to run a creative society? Can digital creations have the subtlety we know in the natural world? These are the issues addressed by Scott Draves’s work; he creates art by writing software that runs an internet distributed supercomputer consisting of 450,000 computers and people, creating images as a form of artificial life, each with its own genome, generated by thousands of numbers that define how it looks and moves. The first versions of this algorithm date from 1992.

Draves created a new collective intelligence — the Electric Sheep — in 1999; it has been evolving and developing since. The system is based on a open source screensaver that anyone can download and run. All the computers work together to render the animations, or “sheep” (it takes an hour to render each frame, or one day of work per second or animation). People contribute their creativity and aesthetics, via open source, crowd source, and by voting. Sheep with favorable votes mate with each other and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm. Hence the flock evolves to satisfy its human audience. This popular open source version makes designs that are the basis for his fine art.

By using the screensaver as a design laboratory and factory, he realizes museum-quality collectors’ edition pieces. Draves selects sheep that satisfy his own aesthetics, and recreates them in high definition and slow motion-editing and assembling them into final pieces. The ultimate creations are painterly in aesthetic. Sales of this fine art support the open source code and server network used to create it, making the flock self-sustaining. By applying supercomputer power and the techniques of artificial intelligence to image synthesis he creates works beyond geometry, the mechanical, and the limitations of a single human creator, all with a fine level of detail rarely seen in digital art. When you see them we hope you will be more open to accepting the machine as part of yourself.

ARTIST STATEMENT:

What is the relationship between man and machine? Is open source a sustainable way to run a creative society? Can digital creations have the subtlety we know in the natural world? These are the issues
addressed by my work.

I create my art by writing software that runs an internet distributed supercomputer consisting of 450,000 computers and people. The first versions of this algorithm date from 1992. Each image is a form of artificial life, with its own genome, thousands of numbers that define how it looks and moves.

I created this collective intelligence — the Electric Sheep — in 1999 and it has been evolving and developing since. The system is based on an open source screensaver that anyone can download and run. All the computers work together to render the animations, or “sheep” (it takes an hour to render each frame, or one day of work per second or animation). All the people contribute their creativity and aesthetics, via open source, crowd source, and by voting. Sheep that gain favorable votes mate with each other and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm. Hence the flock evolves to satisfy its human audience. This popular version makes draft designs that are the basis for my fine art.

I use the screensaver as a design laboratory and factory to realize my museum-quality collectors’ edition pieces. I select sheep that satisfy my aesthetics, redo them in high definition and slow motion, and edit and assemble them into final pieces. I pick sheep for how they look, because of their relationship to each other or a theme, or to tell a story. The final creations are like paintings.

Sales of this fine art support the open source code and server network used to create it, making the flock self-sustaining. By applying supercomputer power and the techniques of artificial intelligence to
image synthesis I create works beyond geometry, beyond the mechanical, beyond the limitations of a single human creator, all with a fine level of detail rarely seen in digital art. I hope when you see them
you will be more open to accepting the machine as part of yourself.

Scott Draves a.k.a. Spot is a visual and software artist living in New York City. Draves is best known as the creator of the Electric Sheep, a continually evolving abstract animation with over 450,000 participants.

He created the original Flame algorithm in 1991, the Bomb visual-musical instrument in 1995, and the Electric Sheep in 1999. Draves’ software artworks are released as open source and have been used for two decades by many other artists and designers in their own work. Most recently, Draves created Generation 243, a commissioned piece for the Gates Center for Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Other works include Clade 1, a rare true high-definition video artwork that runs a 26-minute loop. Dreams in High Fidelity, a moving painting that runs infinitely, is installed in the lobby of Google’s headquarters, and has been acquired by corporate and residential collections nationally.

Draves’ award-winning work is permanently hosted on MoMA.org, and has appeared in Wired and Discover magazines, as an official skin for Google Chrome, as the graphic identity for Siggraph 2008, the Prix Ars Electronica 1993, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, and on the main dance-floor at the Sonar festival in Barcelona.

When not working as a full-time artist, Draves has worked for a series of technology start-ups. First was the fabless microprocessor design company Transmeta, made famous by Linus Torvalds. Later came FastForward Networks, which was acquired by Inktomi, then the PDI/Dreamworks R&D Department, which earned him a feature film credit for Shrek 2. Draves is now an engineer in the mapping division at Google Inc.

Spot started VJing at underground parties in the early 90s and still performs live. In 2004 he published SPOTWORKS a DVD of visual music which has sold more than 4000 copies.

In 1990 he received a BS in Mathematics from Brown University and in 1997 a PhD from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University for a thesis on metaprogramming for media processing.


May 10, 18:57
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