Procedural Art

<– i know much better artists

The art i like best is what i call Procedural (though you might call it Conceptual, and it’s often Recursive). One of my very first web pages in 1996 was the Framegame, which a surprising number of people liked. There are a few procedural bits in the Prodigal Project, and some on Andrew’s parables page. But I went to the National Gallery (of Australia) this year (2002), and discovered Sol LeWitt. Who inspired me to design A Table Containing One Red Square, and Combinations Of Colour Indexes. i don’t know if they’re much good. But they’re interesting to make, which i think is the point… A project that could take me the rest of my life – i call it The People In My Neighbourhood

Here’s a (probably out of date by the time you read it) page about some of the systems i run, with instructions to make my homages to The Matrix and The Lord Of The Rings.


–> on to andrew’s random parables

James K Baxter on the shadow of the artist

<– Stephen King said a similar thing

James K Baxter on the shadow of the artist (after recieving the burns fellowship)

‘In a sense the Fellowship was awarded to the wrong man: my shadow, my enemy, my monster: the public person who would destroy if he could whatever gifts I possess. Art, the mainstay of culture, is not bred by culture but by its opposite: that level of hardship or awareness of moral chaos where the soul is too destitute to be able to lie to itself. Thus the Fellowship should have been awarded, if at all, not to me – a family man, teetotal, moderately pious, not offensive to sight or smell, able to say the right thing in a drawing-room – but to my collaborator, my schizophrenic twin, who has already provided me with poems… … He has done the suffering and I have done the writing. Occasionally I visit the cellblock in the basement of my mind where he still lives, incorrigible, ineducable, unemployable; and through the bars he will pass me a message written on the back of a tobacco packet.’

–> something about that makes me think about the pain of knowing
or move on to contemplative consumption

Stephen King’s idea of the creative sleep

what Stephen King says about the creative sleep

The creative process is like sleeping. It requires a calm, safe place, with no distractions or interruptions. Somewhere comfortable, warm, and quiet. And if you want to be any good at it, it’s best to go there about the same time every day, and stay for a similar amount of time (he says if you’re just new to writing, he’ll allow you a day’s rest a week – but if you’re serious… well, an interviewer once asked him whether he wrote every single day, and he said “yes, except for christmas day, thanksgiving, and my birthday” – but he lied: he usually writes on all those days). You have to go there, allow the rest of your mind to fall away, and let the dreams flow. If you do it regularly enough and for long enough, eventually your muse will get to know where to find you.

–> on to what Stephen King taught me about fiction
–> or a story about the fountain of youth

Andrew Lorien June 01

what Stephen King taught me about fiction

<– back to the creative sleep

What Stephen King taught me about fiction and the imagination

He says that writers of fiction are God’s Liars. Their primary duty is to tell us the truth about ourselves, by telling us lies about people who never existed. That seems a perfect description to me. and i like the way it contradicts the idea that all stories (all art) are out there waiting to be discovered. the lies which tell us the truth about ourselves are waiting for us to unearth them. One of the many forms of the Imagination is a gorilla. a mad gorilla, rampaging, dangerous, and totally out of control. We have a cage for it, to keep it from destroying our sanity with its primitive behaviour. Children’s cages are much more flimsy than ours, and while some adults have built safes with time delay locks which never open, others have their minds in such a mess that the gorilla comes and goes at will. Maybe, he says, the reason writers of fantasy often have such young faces is that they they have never taken the trouble to strengthen the cage. They are like the lazy pigs who built their house of straw – but instead of learning their lesson when it gets knocked down, the writer of fantasy simply rebuilds with straw again. In a crazy kind of way, he or she likes it when the wolf comes and blows it down, just as they like it when the gorilla escapes from its cage. When people read (or watch) horror stories, they agree to let the gorilla out of the cage for a while. Within the covers of a book, or the walls of the cinema, it’s safe to let him jump around and smash things, because when it’s over you can close the cage and go outside and get on with your rational, reasonable life. If it’s been a long time though, or you keep your imagination heavily sedated, the gorilla might have developed an institutional mentality, and it might have to be prodded out with a stick. Because you have to let him get a bit of exercise from time to time, or he will get sick or die. And that is a significant loss – even if you’re scared of him, he’s still a part of you. [it occurs to me that you could rewrite this in Jungian terms. i leave that as an exercise for the writer] He also told me that Coleridge was the author of the idea of ‘suspension of disbelief’. Coleridge describes it very well (poetically, even), but stephen king adds the idea that the muscles you use to keep your disbelief off the ground atrophy as you grow up. The younger you are the more disbelief you can suspend. Which means that as you ‘mature’, the things you disbelieve in have to be more and more believable, and the disbelieving has to be done in a carefully controlled environment. I haven’t really done him justice, but it’s all in On Writing.

–> James K Baxter said a very similar thing
–> on to contemplative consumption

Andrew Lorien June 01