Part 1 of the story of A Scheme Not Of This World covers the concept development and early coding. (Part 2 is here.)
“A Scheme Not Of This World” began life as a little coding sketch. The code combined scans of some paintings I’d done in a sketchbook, creating a digital collage. At this stage, the code was very simple, essentially picking scans at random to fill the image. (For reasons that completely escape me, I named the code “Partial Lightning”.)
The next part of the story of creating “A Scheme Not Of This World” was producing a load of hand-made content for the code to work with. The bulk of these (over 500) are striped collages, four of which are shown here.
Whilst making all the collages that featured in yesterday’s post, I was playing with ideas about how code might arrange them in a sketchbook. This little drawing turned out to be crucial. (Gaussian blurring, less so…)
Starting to code
The code for “A Scheme Not Of This World” has two main parts: arranging stuff on a big scale and arranging stuff on a small scale (these are technical terms). The coding development began with the big scale stuff, experimenting with methods of laying out different types of content over any size of area.
I have a strange compulsion to name my code: this part is called “Scheme of Things”. It’s a line from David Bowie’s “Word On A Wing”; the code creates, er, a scheme of things (too much sharing?).
The second part of the “A Scheme Not Of This World” code arranges content within cells of the main grid. This bit of code is called “A World Not Of This World”, the final words of Wisława Szymborska’s poem “Map” (translated by Clare Cavanagh). (I love a map.)
The sketchbook page here shows some of my workings-out, setting up a system that models armatures. (Always show your workings-out, unless it involves a treadmill.) This was definitely the hardest part of the process.
The next step in the coding development for the small-scale part of “A Scheme Not Of This World”. There are two layers now, extending the code that featured yesterday. The grey squares eventually become images from the library of pre-prepared content. The red lines and numbers are there to test that the code is working (I like counting things almost as much as I like lists). The largest red square will become one of the little squares in the second image. If that explanation seems confusing, it’s a lot less confusing than coding the blimin’ thing was… It’ll get a bit more colourful in the next post.
Read more about A Scheme Not Of This World here, or browse prints from the collection in the shop.
Part 2 is here.
Posted by Alex Russell on 01 May 2021