Act of Emotion #26

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Rank #253



Act of Emotion investigates digitally-facilitated abstract expressionism: the act of painting itself as a means of expression, extended into mechanical reach. A reflection upon the future of automation, machine consciousness, creativity, and humankind’s inevitable consequences. As we await the next leap, we cling desperately to our belief that emotive art is an exclusively human experience. Inspired by those that came before—pioneering expressionists and contemporaries alike—the system engages in new methods of painting, free from traditionally accepted physical boundaries and artistic expectations. Action painting for the Connected Age; the system is in perpetual concert, recited in real-time and on-demand.

Questioned by Colin McCahon, and recontextualised here through a generative lens: How to make a painting beat like, and with, a human heart. The machine’s movements are precise by default, grounded in mathematics. Organic expression must be introduced by twisting and destabilising; a process of broadening bounds that probes the subconscious of both artist and audience.

Confrontingly minimal abstract compositions highlight the tension between rigid mechanical precision and fluid human intuition. Striping and stippling, swooping and darting; noisy automatism contrasted with coded instinct. Gestural abstraction applied with simulation of brush and emulation of media. Presence discovered through colour, texture, light and space; the works emerge as physically-manifested in digital form.

Are these painted works analogous to physical counterparts? Can a machine successfully emotionally connect through this practice? Let us consider both the intent and the act that realise a painted artwork.

“Painting is a state of being. Painting is self-discovery.” — Jackson Pollock


  • [spacebar] Pause/resume exhibit
  • [escape] Reset exhibit
  • [S] Export a still image at the current render size
  • Double Click/Tap to provide a human touch


  • Render resolution upscales with viewport dimensions. Future exhibits will enhance alongside hardware advance.
  • Playback cadence is hardware-dependent and downscales when limited by hardware.
  • "Perpetual" tokens continue their performance indefinitely


Generatively signed giclée print renditions available up to 36x48" / A0.