variaciones del yo

variaciones del yo (variations of self) is a work where I have traveled many mental spaces, memories, reflections and emotions. It deals with affection, meaning and identity. It is visually based on the aesthetic principles of what I explored in Entretiempos, which was heavily based on the work of Sonia Delaunay and her husband Robert. I was interested then, as I am now, in expanding the possibilities of such aesthetical space (the conceptual space is something I can't get into, since it belongs in nature to the creator of the concept - I have rather went on to develop my own thoughts around these shapes and colours). But in this occasion I am more interested in the dynamics and interaction of the piece, on its flow, on its changing nature. This work that you read now about is made possible by the generous support and patronage of JDH, one of Entretiempos' largest collectors and a true patron, who commissioned a piece after Entretiempos' aesthetics and gave me all the freedom. To him goes my full gratitude. This is not a project to be grasped from a still, nor something to approach with a short clip.

This project is about life, and as such it requires the experiencer to allow themselves a moment of disconnection and to just watch for a while. The braver will perform it, since the project is like a little instrument that one can influence, instilling a rhythm to it, exploring its corners, expanding on its little infinite universe. I see it more like classical music, progressive rock, fusion jazz or any other rich and varied musical genre, than easy listening pop. I don't mean to undervalue pop at all. Just that the listening experience and the richness one may discover has typically more layers in other genres. Same with this artwork. A glance will not suffice. A still is a lie. You have to let it develop in front of your eyes, and let your mind wander. Progressive generative art. The time it requires may start with reading this text.

This note about the artwork can very well be read à la Cortázar's Rayuela: the parts are not meant to go in any particular order. Sadly, this is a static text: otherwise I would make it appear in a different order every time you read it. Thus is the nature of ideas that are intertwined, and the printing of them in a linear text is an illusion that brings the reader's mind to a false idea of causality, sequence or hierarchy. The same goes for the artwork itself. The succession of different parts in the piece is not dictated by some a priori meaning or a given temporal structure. The piece encourages the performer/viewer to give in to its nonlinear nature. With this warning, you can read every section at your own will. You can also not read anything, for the most important is how you react to the artwork and the dialogue you establish with it.

Identidad / identity

I am interested in what identity is and how much is it related to our will about ourselves. As this piece shifts the view constantly, building up new angles and fragmenting the total scope of the work into smaller views that live next to each other, different realities seem to emerge. It's just details and points of view, of course, but these views are all we have to work with when we face our lives. We believe that we are grounded on some truths, yet they may be different according to either time, location, status and a long number of other things. We believe we are grounded in our identity, but if we see that other viewports paint a different image, is our view on life part of our identity, built by ourselves, or is it a given? Has it chosen us? As artificial entities develop a behaviour that is increasingly complex, we will start seeing approaches to topics that we thought were part of our nature. If a non-organic entity, not alive, develops similar approaches, what is it which makes us what we are? Is there anything specific, exclusive to us?

Afecto + significado / affection + meaning

Affections are the fabric of life, a fabric that spans multiple layers of meaning. Meaning is the fabric of life, a fabric that spans multiple levels of affections. We are born into a system of meaning and affection, and as we mature it is our responsibility to build our own, taking or discarding what we are offered, and creating our distinct layers.

The process of crafting and giving our meanings is an interactive one with our life context. We have family, friends, work colleagues, people whose meanings are put in motion in the interaction they have with us. Meanings are built from our life experience, our emotions, our desires, our regrets, and their reciprocal action with the entities around. Meanings are imbued with affection: we have affection for those close to us, our important relationships, the ones that carry more meaning and possibly the ones that also help us realise our own meaning. Affection also means disease, which is an interesting concept: love can be paired with something that you need to cure from. The love meaning of affection is probably the best vehicle to navigate the disease meaning of affection in a broad sense.

The very many ways of meaning-making in life and the very many ways of living our affections are what this work wants to reflect upon. Concentric circles aim to represent people, animals, entities of all sorts with all their layers of meaning. As they get close to other entities, there are interactions, collision of meanings that create bursts of affection - be it fond affection or disease. But the encounter of different ways of making meaning creates always a situation for an affection.

Afecto + identidad / affection + identity

Affection belongs to the category of emotional things. The affections we choose to give and those that we receive become over time a basis for what we call our identity. Who and what we are is a vehicle we build to stand firmly in it as we sail the waters of life. But emotions are time-based, developing creatures by nature, and hence our identities are subject to the same motion. Are they? Also, external affections end up shaping our identity: if that is so, is that our identity? The question of whether we are our identity or not arises: is the identity something we truly are, something that is, or is it something that comes to us?

Significado + identidad / meaning + identity

The ways of making meaning we choose and express in our relationship to the world are part of our identity, maybe even building blocks of it. We decide how to make sense of situations, what to express from a given situation. We also receive much stimuli from our environment, and end up modifying, voluntarily or involuntarily, our ways of making meaning, letting the environment become a part of our identity. But is there a part of our identity that is isolated and fully independent from our environment? Are the ideas that surround us the ones that make our identity? We add them sometimes in their readily available form, sometimes after careful consideration (digestion?). But it seems that said ideas become part of us. Or do we flow over time as a collection of ideas that were before us? If our ideas existed before us, and we express them as a vehicle, as memes take over culture and mix and evolve into new ideas, what is that remains for us to be?

We are used to thinking about ideas, reasoning and also building identities as proof of self, typically confined to a subsection of all the living creatures. But if ideas preexist and can pop up in several different species, shaped by the degree of complexity of the system it emerges in, maybe they will start appearing in systems of complexity that we didn't see before, such as complex enough machines. If the machines that exhibit a most complex behaviour start developing and expressing the same ideas, is that a proof that ideas exist prior to us? They can also be a consequence of our environment and our systems of values (affections). If these affections, ways of making meaning pop up in different types of complex systems, what does that say about our identities? Will we share identities with those other affection - meaning expressing entities? test output still; sometimes, the entities are all pixelated except for the main, moving entity - sort of a metaphor for one's own focus. Not everything can be in focus at all times - meaning, affection, identity


Meaning is not constant in all directions at the same time. One can't make sense of all the things that happen at the same time; rather, one needs to focus their attention to apply their affections + identity to the question in focus, to make meaning of it. Constant, absolute meaning doesn't exist - or maybe it does prior to us making it. Thus, perhaps meaning is something we don't make, we just discover. Or it comes to us.

This work

From a visual & interaction standpoint, this work is built around the following concepts:

  • Evolving variable spatial resolution: the work creates a non-uniform varying spatial resolution field, and it changes it in a cyclic manner and tied to the movement of one main concentric ring group (the self). Higher resolution will be centered around the self, and it will move around with it, while losing resolution (becoming a coarser representation of the underlying image) as we look further from the self center. This is a play at the fact that we can never fully see in life at full resolution in all directions, both literally and metaphorically. Human vision is detailed at the focal point, imprecise at the edges. Our perception of the events that take place around us follow the same logic: while we give our attention to a certain topic, person or moment, everything else is kept known but unattended. The work pixelates the views, again in cycles, offering views that range from broadly detailed to broadly coarse. Our emotions work in the same way: hard to describe precisely, but when in focus we can see them clearly with our inner self. The viewer / performer of the piece can alter the resolution parameter via the q keyboard command (see the controls section).
  • Cyclic movement of the concentric ring groups and the partial painting of their intersections: these ring groups embody the notion of self and others. Many selves, of many different natures, crossing paths and sparkling interactions. Interactions are short lived: one can't make meaning of every interaction at the same time. Sometimes the moving bodies will stop and display a full interaction set at that moment in time. There is no such thing as, again, all the possible interactions at one single time. The bodies need to move to encounter themselves, in physical or idea space, to interact. The viewer / performer may trigger the full interaction set / motion with the f command.
  • Variable zoom: the piece will forever shift zoom levels. Sometimes it will only show a closeup of the ring groups, while zooming out also to a broader view where the infinite fields that expand around our existence will show their own movement and patterns. The ripples of our existence, the echoes, or whatever it may suggest you. One can choose how to navigate their life. The work lets the experiencer zoom in/out with the a command, displace the view with the arrows (also click+drag) and, most importantly, it lets the experiencer perform the work. More on that below.
  • Varying viewports: the work has different view states. There is a base image composed of the moving ring groups, which is then viewed through different lenses. A split view in 4 dynamic triangular sections, each with a different zoom, displacement and resolution values. A split view in a changing grid of rectangles that also exhibit different view values. We always perceive life in different ways, a perception altered by many factors.
  • Performative nature of the piece: the piece will cycle on its own through all the possible combinations of states, and will do so in a way that it will never repeat one single combination ever. However, the most rewarding experience comes when one listens to music and performs the piece to it. Using the "r" command one gets a new set of view parameters (zoom, viewports), truly experiencing the progressive generative nature of the piece this way. Also consider playing with the resolution, speed, zoom & displacement (see controls).
  • Auto-perform to a given rhythm: music is central to me, one of the most meaning-full and affectionate elements in my identity: to honor that, and since it's about affection and meaning, the piece lets you indicate a tempo (by following a beat pressing "i" repeatedly at least 8 times at the keyboard ) and the piece will then autoperform to that tempo. A way to sync it to a music you want to express some affection with, to explore your meaning, to possibly create bits of it as you interact with the output of your performance.

All these elements bring the artwork into an experimentation / interaction space that, as I mentioned at the beginning, brings to me ideas of progressive rock / classical music. For the lack of a better name, I like to call this progressive generative work. It's an artwork where time flows matter, where each different part in time is connected and builds up to a larger thing. It makes you travel through different visual scapes, much as a progressive rock track may have you wander in three or four different musical/conceptual landscapes through a 10 minute journey. Or classical music, where a symphony will create rich tapestries of different motifs and themes and variations, and will ultimately tie them all through some sort of composer's wizardry.

Finally, this piece is the first time I don't code any pre-selected palette. I left all colour to a little algorithm I wrote, which is in itself a palette generator. It is set so that the chance that there will be two pieces with the exact same colours is very low. Might happen, but almost impossible.


The project exhibits a range of controls to interact with it / perform it (highly encouraged).

s save image

v start/stop saving video (webm).

0 (zero) toggle base image view/split.

8 fast mode,

9 normal auto mode.

r perform the piece (trigger a view change where several parameters change - or just think of it as getting a new perspective over your life).

f toggle stop/motion and paints all intersections when stopped.

"o" (as in Otello) followed by 1-4 to see all the layers that go into creating the artwork.

Keep pressed +/- after the following commands to alter them: k saturation, t timeline (move forward/backward in time), q pixellation/variable resolution, "a" field of view/zoom.

Use arrows to move around.

If you are listening to a song, press "i" with every beat of your song and after 8 consecutive beats the piece will autoperform to that beat.

Also, tune the image brightness, contrast, noise level, crispness and gamma using z, x, n, e, and g respectively, followed by keeping +/- pressed to alter their values.

URL parameters

You can append some parameters to the live view URL to set/alter certain things. The first parameter must be appended with a trailing ?, the others with & (see examples below)

pd=N (N is 1 or 2 by default, depends on device). Sets resolution. Higher N, higher resolution. If you go too high, you will get a blank image (exceeded the capabilities of your hardware). Stills and video will be recorded at this resolution. sh.kBW=N (N is 0.2 by default, can take between 0 and 1 in decimal numbers). Sets saturation. Set it to 1 if you want to see your piece in black and white. qDK=N (N is between 0.01 and 0.15 by default, you can try anything and see the result). Sets distortion coefficients. sh.shCon, sh.shBr, sh.shG alter contrast, brightness and gamma, respectively. E.g.: &sh.shCon=1.5&sh.shBr=-0.05&sh.shG=2.5 sh.shBlEqC=N (N=0.5 by default). Alters the amount of noise. Try any value.

For example, based on mint #0, we have:

Higher pixel density (4), full black and white (sh.kBW=1):


Partially desaturated, increased gamma:


Finally, in life one has typically a narrow perspective. If you widen your view, you may see life and its interactions broaden their palette into every possible colour.






Total Volume


Floor Price



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Mon, Jun 3, 4:00 PM

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49 / 125



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