WaVyScApE wave flow vibrate oscillate swing waft drift float undulate surge meander...

is it landscape?

after years of living in cities, on a trip through the alps, i’ve been immersed in a beautiful landscape. i was shocked by this vastness, depth, rhythmic beauty... soft rolling hills that gently swing into each other, to the depths of overlying rugged ridges, followed by billowing cloud banks, this kind of loving frequency! was it then when the theme “landscape” became a constant companion of my work? maybe.

nevertheless, it's not my ambition to create landscape illustrations. rather, through the joy of playing with code, many different abstract structures led me to this sort of linear turbulence, which can sometimes leave a pleasant impression of “familiarity”. however, an openness that stimulates the imagination has always been important to me.

softly morphing blob shapes traveling horizontally and leaving their trails behind. creating virtual three-dimensional forms, layered over each other, building up staggered fields out of random color sequences of partly pre-defined color arrays. mixed and overlaid with white and greyscale palettes. when some remaining colorful structures shine through, sometimes, this reminds me of thawing snow in spring, when yellow and green grasses and early bloomers, or lost toys or trash suddenly appear. sometimes it's the case that when the picture is built up randomly, by chance, a beautiful colorful structure is suddenly overlaid with gray again, an appropriate allegory to the concealing snow or wrapped gifts, or similar things, and for whom i consider the secret to remain hidden.


computer-based aesthetics have always had a strong fascination for me. in the early 90s, during my 2 year residency in new york i used to go into clubs and bars around the East village. once entered a small place with electronic music playing and animations beamed onto the wall. i couldn’t stop staring at these into-each-other-morphing structures. fractals! this was completely new to me, and i so was stunned! …waited till the end and talked to the couple who made it. they told me something about the apple-II computer and some software, but i barely understood anything.

it was a pretty cold winter and i lived in williamsburg, so i went over the bridge and had this amazing starry city night around and inside me. i must have mumbled something like: i have to go for it, have to find out, have to start anew again… the next days, i talked to my girlfriend, and she encouraged me to call around at computer departments. maybe someone would have a clue.

the first call i made was the institute of technology: “hold on, i’ll give you the art department,” and then there was this guy, “yeah, fractals! so you studied art in germany and want to learn something about computer graphics and fractals? come by next monday." i showed him my catalogs from galerie-gebr-lehmann.de, “this is bauhaus!, i love bauhaus!”. he offered me an internship.

so i started working on an IBM workstation, somewhere in midtown, somewhere between the 30th and 40 floor, in front of 2 large workstations, one wall side completely glassed in, in the middle of all these thousands of block buildings. i stood extremely next to me; “where are you!?, what are you doing here!?” it exceeded my wildest dreams.


over the years, working with code has not only become a practical technique, but also a factor that determines the aesthetics itself. or it was even the main reason, when i started with code, using a formal language and principle that's based on algorithmic functions, representing mathematical processes and simulations. which leave behind a kind of the machine's own characteristic design language, representing our culture in its essentials. to me it also offers sort of a meta-level of looking at/into nature.

i'd call myself a code minimalist fascinated by bauhaus, constructivism and minimalism, i developed many if not most of my processing apps exclusively with basic shapes like circles, squares and lines. sometimes i caught myself doing e.g. programming a shadow only to take it home again after all, since it seemed to be tipping over stylistically somehow. such as. also in the "flower code" work series, where i developed the blossoms with detailed petal shapes, only to turn everything back again to only work with circles and lines, because i was horrified to realize that it immediately became naturalistic or even kinda cheesy, not what i wanted...

holger lippmann, berlin nov. 2022 bauhaus small writing






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