Dynamic Abstraction, the beauty of randomness by Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis said in a Wired interview: “Pollock showed that there was beauty in randomness”. But if Pollock argued that the process of abstraction, not the end result, is what is dynamic (in his case a static painting), Joshua Davis’ work is never static: the painting is never the same. The compositions are beautifully software generated. ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Abstraction’ are in fact the two words that define the process he uses. Dynamic because of the programming property of outputting an endless array of compositions. Abstraction is defining multiple meanings in the process itself. As Joshua points out: “I was abstracting the act or process of being a designer and doing design, but also my personal visual aesthetic is rooted in abstraction”. Dynamic Abstraction is a website that collects the ideas presented and the files produced in workshops Davis teaches around the world. Here the source files are released and the code explained. There are even instructions for ripping the .swf files for print. The print option includes a sort of contradiction. While Davis believes that his creativity is in the code behind his artwork, museums and collectors still emphasize the print. As John Maeda puts it, this might be due to the fact that no one wants to play the maintenance man or service technician role ad infinitum. Freezing in print the generative code visual representation is on a certain extent quite contradictory: the work wants to ‘live’ in the running machine. Dynamic Abstraction interacts with both the generative aesthetics and the designing processes. It shows how generative strategies can be used to create dynamic systems with aesthetic parameters. At the same time proves that a computational approach to design changes static objects into dynamic processes. Plus it has the collaborative approach of “software by creative for creatives” sharing the code as if ti was OpenSource. For a credible generative abstraction.

Valentina Culatti