happening now:

auto-matic

An exhibition that addresses the limits and potentials of generative drawing, emerging from data through mathematical and mechanical operations; raising questions on automation, reproducibility, and the role of the arbitrary or accidents as sources of creative experimentation.

The research was developed in the framework of Machinic Protocols, a research line directed by Edouard Cabay, in IAAC’s Master in Advanced Architecture.

Visit: Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona
June 30 to September 4 – 2018
Entry: Free

In a time where society and culture are undergoing radical shifts, and due to the inevitable advancement of technology and its forceful intrusion within our lives, this research uses drawing, a creative practice known to all as a tool to explore and understand questions that can be intimidating to some, and exciting to others:

What is the status of our relationship to technology today, and how can it enrich our practices, beyond optimization and efficiency? In a process involving both humans and machines, what are the limits of their respective roles?

The research project Machinic Protocols leaves aside the ‘hand of the artist’. The final form results from imposed conditions rather than preconceived ideas. It is based on the principle of not designing the final form of a product, but enunciating the instructions that govern its production. Even though the term machinic may evoke a mechanical act, it mainly refers to an attitude: that of relying on automatized processes to perform a task. Once the process has begun, it runs on its own and the ‘author’ becomes a spectator. The protocol is the recipe, a set of instructions that dictate actions to be executed.

Such a process requires trust from the writer of the protocol towards the producer of the outcome, as the final result depends on its execution  Therefore, it can incorporate deviations from our original expectations. We can read these deviations (Edgar Morin) as imprecisions, arbitrariness or even accidents but, on the other hand, they may allow new outcomes to emerge. In the words of Michel Gondry, mistakes are part of the game. Imperfection is our best ally.

auto-matic displays over 120 drawings that have been developed over the past three years by more than 80 contributors ranging from the fields of computation, to arts and design. They have been produced by different means including people, robots, computers, and even by forces of nature. Not only the ones who define the conditions, but any of us could discern the results from our own obsessions: they can be read as cartographies, sheet music, traces of mechanical movements, graphic displays of numerical data…. Despite the differences of how they are made and can be read, they all share a set of common characteristics: they are always unique and their final form can’t be anticipated; they are not created by a single author, but rather by a system composed of plural actors.

However, in their finality, all the drawings are no more than the traces of an automated process. The real intention of this work surpasses the act of drawing; it is about developing an attitude towards creation where one designs and relies on a process rather than envisaging an outcome.

Edouard Cabay

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