interactive, generative application, sound
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Digital Canvas – Art for Screens
MuseumsQuartier, Vienna, Austria
EME – Encontros de Musica Experimental
Igreja de Santiago, Castelo, Palmela, Portugal
It Is Black It Is White
It Is Black It Is White is an interactive, online software-art project by Lia, which can be used world-wide on the Internet in creative and experimental ways. Users are invited to play with movements and forms to create individual images which are often reminiscent of plans and architectural designs.
It Is Black It Is White makes complex sketches in black and white, which are produced automatically and/or manually via sequentially drawn elements. The program window is permanently partitioned by graphic play figures. Lia limits the possiblities of programming to experiments with contrast, where the results concentrate on form and movement. Intermediate tones in shades of grey become possible, volumes and plays of light manifest and vanish. The two complementary tones of black and white stand equally for harmony in their apparent competition. Pairs of opposites; light and shade, contraction and expansion, ascent and descent, private vs. public, static or dynamic and organic wilderness in contrast to the structures of civilization can be seen in Lias application. Staircase like structures are just as likely, as apparent labyrinthine structures or the effects of structured group arrangements, as one finds in marches and dances.
With the mouse as interface the viewers themselves can arrange the application in a melodic or a well-planned way, and exert influence on the evolution of the picture.
The resulting views can appear, dependent on the personal interpretation of the user, once arranged and then again completely chaotically. They can have various meanings, depending on the point of view of the user. The subconsciousness of the player gives the way for possible new ideas, which fit to a personal reality. Some initial focus group users felt for example intuitively reminded by It Is Black It Is White of Frank Lloyd Wrights draft for the Guggenheim museum or of Hans Scharouns Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall.
Just as with a joint determined musical topic, overlaid temporally again and again, form by repetition and variation a complex work, here too are also the basic modules of architecture abstracted forms, which constitute the final character of the building by their special arrangement and repetition. Lia’s structures “radiate” with It Is Black It Is White into an imaginary universe from originally content-free directions, which take up and extend this principle.
In It Is Black It Is White permanent developing and passing prevails. Old yields to new, forms complement each other as they accrete and composite. Patterns and varying contrasts take on sculptural character to be extinguished one moment later again.
Similar to how city structures constantly change, in an incomprehensible manner, so too are all moments in Lias unique work of art. The existence of a certain impression is like an illustration of eternity.
The human consciousness, via abstraction, can be inspired by the observation of Lias work to new ideas: An individual moment, which appears to the user harmonic and important, can be frozen as screenshot.
Influences on architecture are never arbitrary. They are oriented at current conditions in civilization, whereby each culture has its own unique building tradition. Regional building methods are expressed as eternal truths in respective cultures. New styles are modified by changing society, forms, materials and technologies. In the digital age Lia now gives a possible example of planning, inspired by generative software art.
It Is Black It Is White can be a playful application for contemporary architectural thinking.
Text: Joanna Render with LIA, 2007