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There are no artifacts. There are only interpretations.

Glass is about the illusion of simplicity that cocoons us in our everyday existence. A glance at Glass may suggest a foam of bubbles or pebbles under clear water. But on inspection, these simple pictures dissolve. Instead of disks one finds stacked panes of translucent glass, intersecting and overlapping. There is dissonance between fine-scale chaos and the harmony of the aggregate. In Glass, two levels of reality -- panes of glass and the foam of bubbles -- are brought close together in scale, so that our oversimplified impression yields a palpable disquiet.

What appears simple is often anything but. Consider a standard wooden desk. To our eyes, it looks solid and continuous, but we know that it is made of atoms, tiny electrons orbiting nuclei. And these subatomic particles are themselves not like miniature solar systems, but creatures of quantum mechanics, stranger than we can imagine. The vast difference in scale between the atomic and the macroscopic hides this complex reality, but fundamentally it is the same phenomenon shown here.

Glass continues my exploration of emergence. While in previous work I explored how simple systems can create complex, emergent forms, here the interest is in the converse: how coherence is often deceptive, masking a complex underlying reality.

Glass draws on the aesthetic of Shin Hanga artists Hiroshi Yoshida and Kawase Hasui, and abstract expressionist Sonja Sekula. In live view, Glass has ambient motion: the shadows evolve, imperceptibly slowly.

The following variations & controls are possible. You may need to click on the canvas before they are active. For a high-resolution output, use the pixel density controls. For example, on a standard laptop, an image saved at pixel density 5 will be approximately 3200 x 4000 pixels, and therefore suitable for printing at ~ 11" x 13" at 300 dpi.

Variations (require redrawing):

f -- fit-to-screen on/off o -- outline on/off


s -- save as png spacebar -- pause/unpause ( useful to reduce CPU load in Live mode ) b -- border on/off ( useful for printing ) 1-9 -- set pixel density (default=2 on retina displays) +/- -- increase/decrease pixel density

artist display notes
Best viewed in large-format against a dark background. On small screens, I recommend the full-size images, alternating between zoomed in and zoomed out views.

library: p5js

license: CC BY-NC 4.0

view on OpenSea


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