Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Exploring Generative Art

I am diving into a new project that is focused on generative art. Before I go into the details, you might be wondering what the hell that is. Generative art is art made using a predetermined system usually applied in digital form. It's a process of algorithmically generating ideas, forms, shapes, colours, or patterns. Gen art allows artists to devise programmes that can be accessed and controlled by the public. And that is exactly what I am exploring as a collaborative experiment for Minimalissimo. A pioneer of this art form is Manfred Mohr whose work has become a big inspiration for me as I dive deeper into its history.

With digital art comes crypto art, and you might be aware of the existence of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't know much about them beyond a bunch of people selling jpegs and gifs for extortionate amounts of money. NFT is a term used to describe a unique digital asset whose ownership is tracked on a blockchain, such as Ethereum, Solana, or Tezos. If you want to learn more about NFTs, I would recommend reading Linda Xie's beginners guide. Although there is a lot of scepticism in this space, and rightly so, I also find web3 technology fascinating and the possibilities of where it could lead—especially if you put profit and novelty to one side. You see, I don't really give a shit about selling a piece of art for thousands of dollars. I'm more interested in making the world of NFTs more accessible and approachable to those who wouldn't consider themselves crypto natives. That includes me and probably the vast majority of Minimalissimo readers.

Thankfully, there are some fine folk who think similarly. Namely German conceptual artist Simon Freund, Norwegian design technologist Anders Tangen, and Swiss designer and programmer Linn Spitz. So together, we considered the current use of gen art in the NFT marketplace, what we liked about it, what we didn't, and what we could do to offer a fresh perspective in the space. What we appreciate about programmable art is the countless creative possibilities, and if we have the collective skills and knowledge, we can make something interesting, unique, dynamic, and beautifully minimal. Conversely, we don't like the high gas prices and the high value placed on digital art, which is why we have decided to avoid the Ethereum blockchain for starters. Instead, we have opted for a much faster, cheaper, and energy-efficient blockchain in Tezos. We also don't like the scarcity aspect of digital art. That makes sense in some cases, of course, but to me, making something extremely limited and scarce goes against the concept of generative art. So we are looking to make this project as limitless and affordable as possible while also offering unique variations.

We are still considering the right marketplace to mint the artwork, but we have some interesting ideas to make the whole experience intuitive and enjoyable for people interested in digital and crypto art. When will this project be launched? I don't yet know, but we're really excited to share it with you soon.

Update: I have started a creative coding course so I can experiment with generative art concepts in future

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