Carl Lostritto
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Computer-Assisted Drawing
The limits of digital computation are as profound as the human eye is powerful. This work is the result of a hybrid approach to computational drawing that positions the human in two key roles: first, that of programmer; second, that of drawing agent. First, a human author produces underlay content that is spatial, but ambiguous, especially in terms of depth “into” the paper. That same human author then writes algorithms designed to guide other humans as they complete the drawings. With an emphasis on drawing “by eye” rather than “by hand,” the algorithmic instructions are not deterministic, but rather leave open many decisions to the whims, motivations, and interests of the human drawing agents. The human agents partnering with Lostritto on this experiment are named Feiyi Bie and Madison Russ. Their signatures accompany Lostritto's on the drawing below their log entries, which reflect their eminently human responses to the algorithms and their observations of their own drawings as they played out.
The first sub-series in this collection is titled, "Connect the Dots Without Numbers" and directs the human agents to connect all dots with straight line segments with the goal of creating long chains of lines. Human agents use a pen. As a result, erasure is not possible.
The underlay dots were created by placing a digital perspective camera inside a 3-D model of a cube, which was wrapped in points. Some of the drawings in this sub-series completely reveal the depth and space of that interior cube, while others, such as this drawing, introduce conflicting impressions of space and flatness.
All the "Connect the Dots Without Numbers" use the exact same composition of dots and require adherence to the same overall goal–connecting all dots with relatively "long" and straight lines–though the results are different in their nature and the forms and spaces they might represent.
In parallel to the work of the human agents, a computer program was written to perform the same task. Like the human agents, the computer program works with the same goals and does not explore or compare multiple possible lines–with the help of a vintage pen plotter, it "dives in" to the drawing without editing any previous lines.
The second series gives the human agents seven layers of grids of wireframe cubes and asks them to deal with occlusions as though some layers of cubes were in front of others and solid.
This final sub-series takes inspiration from Paul Brown's mysterious (the algorithms remain unpublished) and canonical work of computer art, the title of which gives this project its name, "Untitled, Computer Assisted Drawing," which is part of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and is, as of this writing, on exhibit. Though diverging from Brown's work significantly, this sub-series likewise uses arc segments of varying and geometrically related scales that occlude each other as though they were solid masses. It is unknown to what extent Brown's own hands and eyes were responsible for his drawing.
This is another experimental contrast in which a computer program works within similar limits and with similar goals as those imposed on the human agents. A vintage pen plotter is used to create this drawing.