Machine Spirit


Machine Spirit

250/250 minted

Project #10306

Published on March 4, 2022 at 20:55

Machine Spirit picks up where Equilibrium and Equanimity left off. Notwithstanding my love for generative mountains, trees, and (especially) cities, my personal artistic quest remains to produce an algorithm that generates convincing abstract art in the style of Richter and Rothko. The project you are looking at is my best attempt yet.

Trigger warning: some iterations produce rapidly flashing colors which may pose a risk of seizure to people with photosensitive epilepsy or similar conditions.

While the final result is a static image, the live view visualizes how the image is generated. It goes something like this: you start with a grid of cells in random colors, and you feed that into a carefully customized cellular automaton, where the color of each cell is determined by the color of that cell and its neighbours in the previous generation. If you end up with a single color over-powering all the others, or too many different fragmented colors, you start over. But when you reach a stable state with two or three colors, you have achieved your goal: a mathematical balance in color and composition that tends to be aesthetically pleasing as well. You then select a suitable canvas color and run a more computationally intensive rendering process, which makes the end result look more like physical paint on canvas, while retaining the subtle traces of its digital origins.

Press [b]leed, [c]anvas or [d]ensity in the live view to cycle through variations, or [p]rint to save a high resolution capture.

All iterations eventually converge to a stable state, but in theory this could last arbitrarily long, and on rare occasions it may take longer than 5 minutes, in which case the captured preview will be different from the final result. This artwork is fully generative and was hand-coded in 7,500 characters of plain JavaScript code. I didn't use any libraries, but I did take inspiration from an essay by Tyler Hobbs on polygon deformation techniques.

Forever limited to 250 editions on the Tezos blockchain. I truly hope you will enjoy yours. London, March 2022.


Artist disabled the exploration of variations after minting phase