Indeterminacy Part 1

Using Chance 

Jean Arp – Used torn paper to create collages left to chance. Jean would drop torn bits of paper and affix them where they landed.

Jackson Pollock (likely one of the greatest known artists that left things to chance) allowed the materials to fall where they may and interact with each other instead of meticulously placing materials on canvas.

Manfred Mohr – digital artist using algorithms to generate chance art. He programmed his first art piece in 1969 and was still creating work as of 2012.

I decided to use a combination of Illustrator and a random number generator to create a random artwork.

I used to do this exercise with my students using paper, pencil and markers. I created slips of paper with shapes, numbers and colors. It was up to the students to determine size, placement, etc. It was really interesting to see how each student interpreted the same instructions. We called it “same but different” (I worked with 5-10 year olds and they liked the name).

Here is the result of my random number generation:

Here is the text of my instructions:
Step 1: Go to random.org
Step 2: Change the Max number on the Random Number Generator to 10. The numbers generated will determine the number of each shape you will add to your canvas.
Step 3: Open Adobe Illustrator. Set your new document to 12” x 12”.
Step 4: Generate a number of shapes that you will add to your canvas for the following shapes:
1.       Circle (Ellipse tool – make sure to hold the shift key down to create a symmetrical circle)
2.       Rectangle
3.       Line
4.       Triangle (Star tool – click once after selecting the tool and change # of points to 3 to create a triangle)
The shapes do not have to be of equal size or placed in any predetermined pattern. Just follow the number of shapes generated by the Random Number Generator.
Step 5: Change the Max number on the Random Shape Generator to 4.
Step 6: The number generated by the Random Number Generator will correspond to the number listed next to the shape above. You will apply colors to the shapes/lines in the following order:
·         Red
·         Blue
·         Green
·         Black
Example: The first color is red. The Random Number Generator generates the number 4. All Triangles would be changed to Red. The second color is blue. The Random Number Generator generates the number 2. All Rectangles would be changed to blue. Continue this operation 4 times. If the same # is generated multiple times, you will change that item multiple times (in my example, I got # 3 two times. First I changed the lines to green, then they were changed back to black).

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