Future Rope Core Memory

The Future Rope Core Memory art collection of one-off prints examines representations of the natural world and the past, exploring their use as decoration in the domestic, urban environment. The algorithms behind the code model methods of ornamental composition to arrange floral and landscape imagery with traditional pattern elements.

Alex’s background as a textile designer played a crucial role in the development of Future Rope Core Memory. Florals (flowers) are by far the most frequently-used figurative motif in printed textile design. During his time working in this field, Alex created hundreds of floral designs. There are a number of reasons suggested for their enduring popularily, among them ideas of bringing the pastoral into the man-made or memories of the rural into the modern, urban environment. They allow use of almost any colour in a figurative way; their use in textile design dates back as long as print itself.

Alex wrote the code for Future Rope Core Memory mainly in Processing. For the first time, he made use of Java (the language Processing is built on). This allowed him to develop more complex visual interactions and move away from performing pre-code content tweaks in traditional image-editing software. This will be something he develops more in future.

Generative art / creative code development image for Future Rope Core Memory by Alex Russell
FRCM Development
Generative art / creative code library images for Future Rope Core Memory by Alex Russell
FRCM Image Library

Content and concept

For Future Rope Core Memory, Alex created a library of images that uses his widest range yet of media. The content includes hand-drawings, paintings, collaged media in addition to film, Polaroid and digital photography, plus code-generated pattern. The photographs date from the early 1980s to the present day, including many images from Alex’s mountain hikes.
The library also includes a number of different spots and stripes. Much as florals are a figurative staple of textiles design, so these elements are abstract ones.

All the extensive floral content in Future Rope Core Memory is photographic, in some cases with extensive digital manipulation. Abstracting the photos questions their accuracy in deplicting nature. Some appear as self-contained images floating over the image space, while others are contained with sub-divisions of the whole, almost as views with a view.

In addition to the extensive visual inspiration, concepts of hauntology (in particular the writing of Mark Fisher) played a central role, along with the music of Boards Of Canada (specifically the “In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country” EP). The name is a nod to Rope Core Memory (or Core Rope Memory), a now-antiquated method of hard-wiring software into (read-only) memory. It was used for the computers on Apollo missions (including the first moon landing) and was hand-sewn with wire threaded through a special needle by skilled textile workers.

Future Rope Core Memory

The final code for Future Rope Core Memory has up to 30 layers of imagery. The basic composition of the outputs is decided fairly early, followed by extensive interaction between the layers within this framework. Sometimes library images are used as-is; at other times complex edits are applied before they are added to the output. Some of the content is generated on the fly by code. When this is the case, it is coloured and textured using data from the library.

The use of tone and colour within the image is very carefully tuned to ensure the images retain interest when viewed from a distance and close-up. Each run of the code creates a unique image; if each image is a play, there are many further plays within the play.

Buying or commissioning

Future Rope Core Memory is available as a series of archive-quality prints on paper. Browse and buy here.

If you’re interested in commissioning Future Rope Core Memory at a different size or on another surface/substrate, please get in touch.

ApeiroPattern generative art print Future Rope Core Memory 220327 1246B by Alex Russell (full image)
FRCM 220327 1246B