Arcstream: Technical Artisan

Apr 14, 2022 | Business News

Discover how Arcstream supports the world of Generative Art installations

A relatively new concept in the art world is ‘Generative Art’. The medium combines artistic invention and innovation with cutting edge technology. These types of execution lend themselves extremely well to permanent or temporary experiential marketing installations, and can create deep engagement for brands and concepts, but need knowledgeable support from technology specialists such as Arcstream.

The technology needed to create within this genre normally requires special hardware, software, skilful installation and maintenance to be successful. To qualify as a piece of Generative Art, the work normally involves images or audio that at least in some part are generated by a computer or algorithm making some of the decisions of what is seen independently. These works of art are often complex to deliver from a technical point of view.

Artists and those commissioning them need to have confidence that the technology partner they choose to help make the project happen understands the needs of each endeavour and can provide seamless support to make it all happen.

Technical assistance has been at the heart of many of the world’s most innovative, cutting-edge artworks and this is still true today, with Arcstream fulfilling the role of a ‘technical artisan’ providing artists and those who commission them with the tools to realise their vision.

What exactly is Generative Art?

Essentially it is a work that relies entirely or partly on the use of an ‘autonomous’ system, defined as a non-human aspect, often an algorithm, that helps to generate and change what the artist wants the viewer to see or hear.

This form of art, although enjoying considerable awareness now, has actually been in existence a little longer than you might assume.  Automated computer graphics from the early 1960s are the roots of much of today’s work.

Some well established artists in the genre working today include Manolo Gamboa Naon, an Argentinian who uses algorithmic tools including processing to create art. Another artist, Anders Hoff via projects such as ‘Inconvergent’, explores the behaviour and evolution that emerges from artificial systems with simple rules.

Today, it is mostly accepted that Generative Art’s chief defining features include change, dynamic development and motion. As more established forms of art like painting and sculpture obviously cannot deliver these aspects, here is where technology steps in. Whilst the artist sets the rules, it is the defining feature of Generative Art that the technology makes at least some of the decisions and consequently its installation and setup need to be precise . Other triggers can be actioned by data inputs such as time of day, weather conditions, space occupancy or people walking past the screen.

Most projects involve at conception some form of software. That software then needs a place to exist and do its work, often this involves specially designed and configured hard-drives or computers. Then the work needs to be seen and sometimes heard too using high-performance specialist audio-visual equipment. These are the basics, but the needs for each project vary. The type and size of screens required, the nature of the hard drives to gain the correct performance from the software and protect intellectual property, are all important factors. The artist will then have a particular vision of exactly how the art will look; the brightness, speed of operation, colour contrasts, the colour pallet in general and any audio involved, all need to be perfectly tuned to the right levels and intensities . Other elements can involve precision cameras tracking movement in front of the screen.

Another factor is providing data inputs that affect what the work is doing and what people see and hear. A project we are working on involves informing the work exactly what time of day it is, what the weather conditions are, the level of office occupancy and when someone walks directly past the screen.

These wonderful and beguiling works are beginning to appear in many settings. Permanent installation in corporate spaces as organisations commission artists in much the same way as they would a painter or sculpture is one setting. The works are often powerful messengers of an organisation’s standing and culture projected out to the wider world. Generative Art also appears as part of less permanent installations for high-profile events and promotional endeavours of all kinds.

Whatever the venue, intention and technical needs of the artists and those supporting the work, Arcstream has the experience and technical knowhow to make each project a success.

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