ALAR 8995: Painting With Insects
Over the past seven months, I have pursued a course of research that imagines painting as a launching point for parametric explorations. My primary interest has been the investigation of the two-dimensional logics that underpin the description of three-dimensional space, and in identifying and developing fields that bring this to light. This thesis builds upon my parametric investigations to argue that the manipulation of material properties facilitates the experience and communication of unstable fields. The underlying premise of this research is that parametric technology allows the designer to develop a methodology that is both specific and subjective.
In paintings, it is not just line and form, in the guise of linear perspective, that indicate depth, but also color, saturation, and value that determine our understanding of space. Brush strokes and pigment represent themselves as marks made by a human hand, and also refer to an imagined space that the viewer must construct for herself.
Within the world of Grasshopper, the parametric modeling software upon which my investigations have centered, diagrammatic pseudo-code and code describe simultaneous operations unfolding in Rhino-space. The image sampler, an analytical tool embedded within the program, filters two-dimensional representations of space through a point grid field, quantifying the presence of color, saturation, and hue throughout an image. This data can be cross-referenced with instances of observed form, and, more powerfully, can be used to transform the point grid into three-dimensional spatial fields. In this way, the image sampler elevates the importance of color, saturation, and value as space-makers, and links primary tools of painting to emerging computational technologies.
While the fields are derived from an ordered series of operations, they are also records of fluctuation. Measured data that varies from point to point amounts to constant change within a field, and the ability to continually adjust the parameters of transformation suggests that a level of instability is characteristic of the proposition.
To date, this research has produced images that speak to particular techniques for the establishment of fields (such as translation, substitution, overlay, and intensification), images that are both self-referential and uniquely tied to their source paintings, and images that suggest arrangements of space that neither exist within the source image nor are pre-determined by Grasshopper.
As the fields become more three-dimensional and the images of them more complex, color, saturation, and value should once again play a leading role in describing space. In fact, because the irregular forms of the fields are difficult to read perspectivally, color, saturation, and value must play an outsized role in the depiction of space. Work over the course of the next six weeks will investigate the use of color, saturation, and value in the depiction of fields derived from those same measures.
The effect of this work will be to offer an alternative to linear perspective as a descriptor of space, drawing the viewer into the seemingly unstable world of the field. With touchstones that are not objects but intrinsic qualities, the paintings at my final review will suggest a reevaluation of the way that architects see and depict space.