Science and art; chaos and order; structure and freeform...
in the world described by Bolter and Gromala, those extreme opposites are combined by digital designs, enabled with advanced technology and lots of imagination. In Chapter I-III, three digital art pieces are introduced: text rain, wooden mirror, and nosce te ipsum. All three have something to do with artificial transparency and the interaction between the medium of art and the spectator: the audience became a part of the production instead of merely an observer.
Both Text Rain and Nosce te Ipsum reminded me of Dadaism, where randomness is the key point of the art: the process of creating the visual experience relies mainly on arbitrary selection and chances. The movement of the figues on the screen decides what the texts will appear like, or what sentences, whether they make sense or not, will form. In Nosce te Ipsum's case, layers after layers of images unfolds and reveal different images according to different people as they walk over. The Wooden Mirror is slightly different in that it's more of a physical display of how camera works. I remember enlarging images in the computer, where you can see colour cubes that make up different shapes and forms...when you see the basic elements of the images, those cubes seem random and coarse, while seen as a whole, pictures with orders and forms.
Those are all visual reflection of the relationship between the seemingly "boring" and monotonous science and art, which encompasses free spirit. The text rain, for instance, is a digital rendition of how Dadaist artists used to grab words out of a bag in order to create poems in the most naturalistic sense. As we were discussing the relationship between chaos and order in class: everything in the universe are in the constant struggle between maintaining order and rushing into a chaotic state. View in large and small scale, the results can be very different. In the world of science and nature, the heart of order is chaos: look at the particles bouncing off each other while the entire organism functions in perfect harmony; the whole eco system maintains its order as the seasons go by, while at the same time, we can't even figure out where the next raindrop will fall. However, if we even look deeper inside, the chaotic natural phenomena can be broken down into basic elements, that run on a orderly fashion again. Just like what Thomasina Coverly said to her tutor Septimus in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, "Each week I plot your equations dot for dot, xs against ys in all manner of algebraical relation, and every week they draw themselves as commonplace geometry, as if the world of forms were nothing but arcs and angles. God's truth, Septimus, if there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose? " In the world of art, sometimes the heart of chaos is order too. There are orders dots by dots in Jackson Pollock's wildest expression of "action paintings". Digital arts and designs enable us to see that.
I remember a study on how movie posters' colour change through the years and how people's perception and social preferences evolve by putting together all the posters and see them in a large scale. Below is the final layout and you can see the report here:
The purpose of that colour study was to show how our colour bias has changed through the years as we are increasingly using darker and colder colours, unlike in the beginning of movie industry, people were more inclined to use brighter and warmer colours to make the posters appeal to the audience, as colder and darker colours were considered unwelcoming.
Here's the interactive version of the study where you can examine the posters' colours from 1914-2012
I found it very interesting how the seemingly completely random phenomenon: the colour of movie posters (which is decided by the theme of the stories of the movie, the decisions made by graphic designers, etc), can show a consistent change through time and gradually merge into a spectrum of colours. Such order is born out of chaos, observed by analytical thinking and visualized by technology.
Many a times subjects don't matter, the roods and hearts of our knowledge follow the same formation and core: chaos and order are two sides of the same coin. Like Hannah concluded after years of searching her quest in finding the meaning of landscape and poetry. " It's all trivial – your grouse, my hermit, Bernard's Byron. Comparing what we're looking for misses the point. It's wanting to know that makes us matter. Otherwise we're going out the way we came in. That's why you can't believe in the afterlife, Valentine. Believe in the after, by all means, but not the life. Believe in God, the soul, the spirit, the infinite, believe in angels if you like, but not in the great celestial get-together for an exchange of views. If the answers are in the back of the book I can wait, but what a drag. Better to struggle on knowing that failure is final. " (Stoppard)
The argument between designers who pushes to make more tags, who look at the web pages as wholes, and the programmers who look at pages in elements and lines of technical languages, in conversations with the machines...the searches and pursuits are in the same direction.
What seems to be opposite to each other, are just the same thing, filtered through different lenses.