Brief thoughts on a sketch made in response to music.

The sketch above can be accessed here. ~100 minutes. Responds to the cursor. Best on desktop in webkit browsers (Safari/Chrome). 

An original rule for sketches on this blog was that they had to be ‘about something’. I’m not sure if the sketches in this post fit what I meant by this.

The sketch above is a quick response to Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Underwater”. It’s not really ‘about’ the song so much as it is an expression of sorts. I’m loathe to say it’s a “visualization” — something meant to be evocative of the experience of listening to whatever. If the music, or a part of the music, was a kind of inspiration, does that make the work ‘representative’?

Bogost (2007) talks about (procedural) rhetoric in terms of effective persuasion and/or expression. He points to the incomplete syllogism or enthymeme to describe how procedures can make arguments. This is pretty handy I think.

But I don’t remember enthymeme being posited to help us make sense of a procedural system that ‘expresses’ something in a more general sense.  (This is to say I’ll need to return to the text. The chapter discussing Chen’s Journey from Bogost’s How to Do Things with Videogames, might also be worth revisiting too. )The experience of the encounter with the Underwater sketch above is a mush of visual-kinetic and action related facets. From that angle procedural ‘expression’ here seems more like an issue that’d fall under “Game Feel”. Surly someone has compared these two topics (effective expression from a procedural rhetoric perspective vs a game feel perspective).

A separate motivation behind the Underwater sketch was to look at how periodic motion might be used to structure repetition at small and large scales—but it got lost in trying to resolve visual composition issues. I backed up to explore the idea a more narrowly in a followup sketch based on the cover of Alarm Will Sound’s “a/rhythmia”. It doesn’t really get at the actual original idea either, but it’s a start and can be cannibalized for future sketches.

Click image to open. ~60 minutes. Responds to cursor. Best on desktop in webkit browsers.


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