Human Interference Project

As a continuation of mi recent exploration of Western-European Participatory Rule-based Art Systems, I just contributed with a drawing to the Human Interference Project, a tribute to Jean Tinguely’s Métamatics organized by the Métamatic Research Initiative.

As the project website describes, the drawings should be created based on these rules:

 Use a white A4 sheet and a ballpoint pen.
 Draw a closed shape on the paper.
 Repeat the shape inside the original shape until there is no space left at its centre.
 Repeat the shape outside the original shape until it touches one side of the paper.
 Choose the distance so that you can make at least 50 iterations on the paper.
 Try to repeat each iteration in exactly the same way.
 Sign the drawing in its upper right corner in landscape format.

Note the semantic difference between “based” and “following” when you substitute the former with the latter. It is the difference between suggestion and command, and in this case it gives the participants a lot of room for interpretation. Most participants——myself included——chose to draw around the original shape both inside and outside. But that makes it hard——if not impossible——to keep the further iterations faithful to the original shape. Even though it is easier to draw instances of the same shape if you don’t have to wrap them around the original, only two participants have chosen to do that so far, and it is interesting that both of them used triangles.

I explored a number of options before submitting my choice. I wanted to do something that featured some behavior I believed had some degree of originality, but I also wanted to stay away from formal intricacies or technical conundrums. I decided to look for ambiguity in the idea of “closed shape” not by finding a tricky way to define “closed” but by finding a simple way to make the idea of “interior” relatively unclear. By drawing a line with a few self-intersections I produced enough ambiguity to have a some choices about the interior of the shape. The number eight for example, is it a circle with a twist or is it two circles tangent to each other? From a two dimensional point of view, it can be either one, and the choice you make about which one it is will inform the way you choose to repeat it. I drew the original shape one way, but a minute later I preferred to pretend I drew it differently.

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