Raw Data as Geometric Abstraction

February 29, 2012

So what’s below is a grid of those color-by-number strips layered into a perfect square.  36 colors chosen by “arbitrarily” entering in the three RGB channel color numbers in the Photoshop color square.  Of course arbitrary is a bit sketchy because you can’t help but respond to the three previous numbers you entered as hard as you might try.  So what’s interesting about the image, and fascinating to me, is both that it’s ugly and that it’s a procedural failure.  And I don’t mean ugly in the sense of bad or worthless, I just mean awkward and random-looking even though it’s not really random at all.

But the procedural failure is more important; back a ways I posted about artmaking being a lot of chaos and failure, and that I was interested in failure, both the failure of a photograph to be a window instead of an object and failed attempts at specific plans.  What’s so great about this particular failure is that while it wasn’t completely arbitrary, much less random, it looks like it is.  Or at least it looks like I’ve removed all clues as to the meaning of the relationship between the colors, which is framework text that could be supplied, but just as it is it’s a dumb object that came out of abstract thinking about image software.  Which is interesting, though I’m not sure yet where it leads.

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