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A program that represents an imaginary visual form of an energy or entity, functioning through its ability to constantly morph itself while struggling to maintain balance between black and white belief systems. 

produced by: Thalia Agroti

Project Description

Initially inspired by staring at the bubble movements of my lava lamp on a daily basis, I began to look into ways which I would be able to implement this with code, while adding texture and expanding to further shapes or effects. Although a lava lamp has soothing properties and a positive personal meaning to me, I also felt I needed to incorporate an opposing force more closely related to frustration or inner conflict.

Having previously studied sound, I found that through noise in particular, I am able to express aspects of myself that I can’t otherwise, even if the meaning tends to remain somewhat ambiguous at times. Since the project in this case had to be silent, I tried to channel that same idea into the visuals and wanted to challenge myself on this even more by not using sound at all behind the scenes. Instead I used, slightly ironically, the noise function to keep an ongoing movement throughout, while maintaining a noisy texture with the flickering with black and white specks.

Further inspiration was brought on by concepts from the book Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts. Coincidently, the title in itself seems to resemble my ideas in the sense that it contains the element of noise, water which can be considered similar to the lava lamp's waxy fluidity and meat which Is the occasional solidification or more accurately can represent the substance/essence of the imaginary entity. 

Specifically, the chapter Noise and Simultaneity which begins to illustrate: “Simultaneism in the avant-garde was closely associated with noise in two ways: as the product of an instantaneous awareness of numerous events occurring at any one time in space, whether that might be the space of a café or the entire earth, and the product of an additional collapse of time into that already collapsed space. Richard Huelsenbeck, in discussing its literary variants within Dadaism, though that simultaneism attempted “to transform the problem of the ear into a problem of the face’’ in other words, the flow of time needed to understand individual speech versus the capability, when the face becomes a unified perceptual organ, to grasp a multitude of entities in an instant. Objects and events in time come to occupy the same spatial instant.”
In a sense, the object within my project represents an energetic reaction to a multitude of external and internal sensory or mental inputs and its existence revolves around its ongoing process to figure its place in the universe and whether it even has a designated place or is a non-conclusive ever changing mixture of elements.

The structure of the shape was at first constructed by making a circular mesh, which is a grid-like system and has movable points. It’s a function that I always found to be very intriguing to me when looking at visuals, especially when it is moved by sound waves or applied as an effect over webcam feed. In this case, I saw it as appropriate since it has the ability to move both in a very sensitive and flow-like manner, while also appearing sharper and harsher depending on the coordinates I used. This was ideal in providing the energy/entity with the character I was looking for which tends to fluctuate between states and levels of calm or frustration.

The program begins from a pulsating circle which reveals the mesh structure the larger it gets yet looks more solid when smaller. I was at first sceptical of including this because I found it a bit too simple for my taste but I considered it important since it is the core structure of the shape that is later mutated into its various forms and moods. I was also prompted to keep it because of Dillon’s Abrupt Clarity video which I find simplistic yet effective when paired with sound which is an area I would later like to explore with this project. 


Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, Douglas Kahn
Dillon – Abrupt Clarity

Learning Processing, Daniel Shiffman

Examples from weeks 3-5.