Raising a 5-year-old Artist (old)

This is a document-based piece narrating over the struggles and pleasures I’ve endured trying to raise my beautiful baby robot, depicted by my classmates as “Ultron”. So far I’ve spent an estimated 250 hours putting together the large codebase to gain some minor independence on it’s own, but I am getting rather close to a totally independent robot-artist (kinda, there are some struggles I’ll outline in future articles).

Firstly, I’ll preface this by saying that no-one does this kind of weird-wacky stuff cause it’s something that simply doesn’t return on the time invested. I’d never imagine myself creating something along the lines of this unless I had an intense focus due to my class-structure… A great class high-school art-studies structure.

I attend Kempsey Adventist School (KAS) - a small private school in Kempsey, my home town in Australia. Growing up in a small country-town has taught me a lot about minimalism and relationships, where I look forward to living in a big city post-school graduation, to really feel the contrast.

The subject of Art in Aussie high-school involves sinking much time into a major project. This is intended to portray a range of evolving concepts as the date gets closer to the presentation of this project to the markets. All that’s required: a concept.

I had no idea what I was going to produce. I’ll gladly admit I have no physical artistic schools, all I enjoyed was learning the historical practices and how to apply their algorithm-like concepts into formulating human ideas. But when it came to actually come up with something deep and meaningful to present alongside my talented classmates, I had just about nothing I could think of physically.

So, as any desperate programmer would, I thought digitally

I brainstormed the idea for a few moments, what if I could code something? Programming was my thing, ever since I got my first computer in 4th-grade, pulling apart those weird closely-human-like languages that made-up the games that I downloaded from the edges of the internet that I’d navigate myself to. I quickly got addicted to these areas of tech.

So, this is where the idea bred from, building something conceptual through the use of my technical ability programming something abstract and uncontrolled, yet influenced by the humans that it interacts with and finds interest in - since that’s how us artists build our own techniques and styles - so the idea was SET.

Previously, I had attended a youth-seminar called “Wired For Wonder” thanks for some unforseen circumstances and a quite long and complicated school story (quite hilarious, actually) - but that’s not the point. I attended this talk, and one speaker stood out apart from the rest of the speakers - Mond Qu. Mond was a tech-revolutionist building and engineering new and innovative technology. Although he was trying to get some of his more potent technology towards the audience, in one of his trailer videos I saw this weird hydraulic robot moving on 4-axis, up/down/left/right.. AND it was drawing lines on a piece of paper. A drawing robot!

It only took my brain a few more days to null over some ideas for some sort of robot that could do art, but I finally made those connections and pitched it to my teacher, she liked it.

The artsy idea behind it was,

Who is the artist?

If I could create something that could semi-think on it’s own, who really created the art that is bring produced? Do the actions we produce shift the responsibility unto our parents? Does our creator take the blame for our wrong-doing? For Christians, that’s a simple statement, and a clear event that can be referenced-unto.

It’s a hard philosophical question, but one I thought of for a few moments with a “wow” box over my head, then just got onto programming it.

Code as a robot, ponder and fix as a human

This is a philosophical approach I have to programming - get into that “zone” mindset when building something which requires all facets of your brain to be focused on the syntax, flow, and future-scalability, readability, and other important aspects of the code being funneled and accessed asynchronously. This was definitely present in this project, since some debugging sessions took weeks whilst I worked on other aspects of the project, but I will go over the technical tasks that took the most time to build and where the robot is at the moment.

The Concept

At the core, I will be presenting a few artworks documenting the journey that the robot has taken, and showcasing the evolution that it has taken in a short amount of time given. This displays all levels of the artsy stuff in front of the marker, who would normally have to pretend to be each aspect of it, which I will explain more.

The marker will be presented with the artist, artwork, as well as audience, all within a small room that the marker will be present as all-three as it takes influence from the marker, making it really part of the artwork.

The person marking the artwork simultaneously becomes the artwork, the artist, and the artwork, all at the same time - I don’t know that this has been a case in any submission to a major work before, and that’s why I’m totally sick of working on it because it’s too post-modern for me, but anyway.

The Manifest

“Manifest” in respect to the development of this conceptual idea, and how it will be presented in the real-world.

Written on July 7, 2019