Art by Kenny Vaden

RIFT: Four-Year Gen Art Project on Koda Dot

RIFT is available for minting on kodadot.xyz (128 mints, 0.25 dot each) starting on July 4, 2024 at 3PM GMT+2 / 9 AM EST / 6AM PST. Thank you for your interest.

One excellent tradition that emerged in relation to crypto art and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is long form generative art. I first became aware of long form gen art in relation to Fidenza (2021) by Tyler Hobbs, which exemplifies this type of algorithmic art.

Simply put, long form algorithms are specifically designed to produce a large volume of high quality outputs with emergent qualities. The outputs look interesting and beautiful in isolation, as well as alongside potentially hundreds of other outputs produced by the same underlying algorithm. Crucially, long form artwork was produced with autonomy – no intervention by the artist nor collector. This contrasted with smaller iterative artworks, which typically involve the selection or curation of a small number of favorite outputs (e.g., 1-3) by the artist.

In this same line of algorithmic art, RIFT is both my latest and oldest long form generative artwork. RIFT is a long form generative art project that I first composted in August 2020, in response to close friendships pushed beyond their breaking point. The imagery of a layered structure that is pulled apart from its center reflected the tension and loss that was left behind for some time.

Later, with the idea of transforming this artwork into a long form project, I translated the underlying algorithm from R code to p5.js. The original approach was replicated, where spline interpolation was used to form smooth waves based on random points, creating structures that flowed and expanded across symmetric layers. The design continued to evolve into 2024, producing more complex wavelike structures, more partially transparent layers, and more complexity in the colors that were randomly selected and color mixing that could potentially yield infinitely generative palettes.

In the final version of the algorithm, each output includes backgrounds and bands that provide a dark or light contrast with the colors, which enrich the unique palettes. The outputs appear organic, painterly, abstract and formless — like waves or drifting smoke. The depth of the structures remind me of the new world we build on the ruins of the ones that came before. Some friendships flourish over time, others clear the way for more important relationships.

Below, I present high resolution example outputs from the finalized RIFT system as well as images from its evolution over four years (2020-2024).

RIFT has matured over four years, both in terms of the aesthetic and the underlying algorithm. Although the original algorithm in R code and its translation to p5.js were fairly straightforward, its development reflected increased familiarity with p5.js, cross-talk with other longform projects along the way, and increased exposure to color relativity and color theory. Time changes the artist, and in this case, the artwork as well.

Notes from the artist

Aug 2020. Seventy-five random, interpolated vertical waves were symmetrically reflected around the y-axis. Polygons traced the additive lines series, which were colored with a randomly sampled color spectrum gradient, drawn in the opposite order that they were computed in (widest to narrowest). Along each of the polygons, thin edge lines were drawn in a semitransparent black. Points beyond predefined limits were dropped prior to drawing.

May 2022. The algorithm was translated from the R Statistics Language to p5.js. Despite subtle differences in how the algorithm works across languages, the color selection, interpolation, and the organic growth shapes were replicated successfully. One important distinction in the new algorithm was the precalculation of the entire structure and its colors as an object, which permitted its faithful and rapid reconstruction at different scales.

Jan 2024. New outputs from an algorithm composed in R code, translated to p5js, then set aside for a couple of years. There’s something special about editing an old composition, like reuniting with an old friend. I hope you have reconnected with some of yours.

Apr 2024. The outputs attained a quasi-Art Nouveau style with tendrils and organic shapes dominating the composition, which retained its original vase-like shape. The algorithm creates a symmetric, random shape based on spline interpolation to form smooth, wavy lines from a small set of random points. Consecutive layers were drawn closer to the centerline, while sampling colors from a randomized color vector that is interpolated and randomly jittered to create interesting shades and contrasts. One color mode largely replaces the tile colors with black fill, while the other rarely replaces colors with white fill.

June 2024. I continued to develop and fine-tune the algorithm over the past several weeks, ahead of an upcoming drop on Koda Dot. I renamed the artwork “Rift” (previous title was “Withdrawing”), because of its origin in social shearing and fragmentation during the pandemic.

If you are interested in viewing the unique outputs minted by this algorithm, RIFT is available for viewing and minting on kodadot.xyz as of July 4, 2024 at 3PM GMT+2 / 9 AM EST / 6AM PST. Cheers!

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