Randomness and sets

A few years ago I wanted to make a generative sound piece so I made a script with an array and a loop that chose at random a command to play an individual piece. I wasn’t particularly happy because it just didn’t seem random. The problem that I didn’t understand was the occurance of sets. Truly random phenomena have sets but they are random : ) so my generative piece seemed repetitive and I blamed the bash shell. To solve it I introduced three scripts that did random stuff, sets would still occur here and there but it was better. The iPod had a similar problem when it first came out people complained that shuffle wasn’t random so Apple had to make it less random to seem more random. Humans don’t really get randomness because we look for patterns and that is our benchmark for intelligence and understanding. I was thinking about ink blots because I came across some the other day on a pavement and I found it fascinating. I took a very cropped photo it was actually very big and dynamic but I didn’t want to record the whole thing. I liked it because it was unexpected. Sets though are not necessarily predictable but they still can make a pattern. What I imagined was a series of ink blots on pavements say around thirty and each would be distinguishable and in this case the similarities would be the ink and how it moves or marks a surface. To get a visual set is a big task maybe many thousands  of pieces or even more to generate a set but of course the variables are larger. Ink though can be predictable in what it can achieve at least in technique but of course what you can do isn’t so predictable but there are repertoires or things you can do with it.

I suppose structures exist that give you something to work with like my faces where I will use a reference but totally change the face into a particular painting and a particular face which is a far cry from the reference. My generative piece could have been much larger to minimise the sets but it was simply a test bed to see where I could take it and I did learn something from it at least. I may come back to it and make it larger possibly able to play from a range of a hundred small sounds that can be looped and arrayed to generate something a little more interesting.

Aside on property and graffiti part two

So the dominion of Earth is given to humans which is essentially a gift but seems slightly mistaken if we see how human societies treat the Earth. Property, territory these lead to wars and so society grows and shrinks etcetera, I guess that was what I left out of the other article. I suppose I like the idea of thinking of God as in charge of Earth just so we respect it but God didn’t necessarily want dominion over animals and land. Really though these are animal sanctuaries and with this comes responsibility for all people to respect what we have been given. At the moment I am in the middle of a book looking at the history of philosophy and recently arrived somewhere in the middle ages. Most books on philosophy skip the middle ages but it got me thinking and so my latest posts have been about these issues. The book itself isn’t exactly exciting but it has its moments.

I like the idea of the divine leaving the Earth but wanting to give something divine back which is the holy ghost, that is pretty cool but I would love to think that everything is divine and in some way miraculous which by everything I mean Earth the universe and so many phenomena like life. It all gets a bit fluffy I know but you have to respect all of the things that we may never even understand or even know exist but especially what we can know and see. Ok I suppose I should come back to graffiti, a simple surface issue but something that grows where freedom exists and where boundaries can be momentarily blurred. Where recognition can find itself actuated in other ways where a wall can become so much visual detritus or simply pure joy and wonder. Where there is freedom there is potential, sure it is messy but ownership itself can’t be where expression stops. By ownership I mean the mega hardware chain or even property owner who has a big blank wall or mega signage, that to me is just a waste when really you can have other voices even those that we prefer to remain unheard right in your face. Thats just my opinion though we can’t have total anarchy but when you see some potential in something if we work together amazing things can happen.

Aside on graffiti and property

It is interesting to note that there were no notions of private property in the garden of Eden. After the fall humans started private property through law. The law designating ownership is quite fascinating because the idea of ownership ultimately comes from God. God though isn’t necessarily seen as an owner but more as a creator but the idea of ownership could really be an expression of the divine. Why humans think they own things is the necessity of clans or groups or of a state to occupy space for necessities such as shelter, hunting or farming. Why would God then need to own anything? Everything is at Gods disposal as it was for humans prior to the fall though to a lesser degree. What I mean though by ownership in a divine sense is that a creation is seen as owned by its creator, of course until it is sold and then we apply copyright as well as moral rights to a creation but not for God, does God though ultimately own Earth and the heavens? Maybe we need property lawyers rather than ministers to answer these questions. Really though human law doesn’t stretch much farther than Earth, at least for now.

This whole article though is going somewhere and that is back to private property. Most peoples pet peeve is tagging and that is the disregard of private and public property distinctions to put an identifiable mark or name on a surface to create a recognisable entity. The idea of this disregard in the ghettoes of New York in the late sixties was a place where people did not necessarily own anything. Property was simply not theirs, but essentially they branded and took back swathes of what they ultimately didn’t own. Criminal occupation of property is nothing new but it is interesting to see what people will do when they are disenfranchised. The occupation of Indigenous lands through colonisation is another case where people with too much take even more and apply law, so as we can see there really are extremes. Ultimately though ideas of creation to some extent entail ownership and you can take terra nullius as a case of false creation or an application of informed ignorance. The laws that were already governing the societies were disregarded as they were quite different and really people will make up any old story and see what they can get away with. Ultimately the foundation of Australia is legal from one side of the equation.

So where is this going part two? Well disregarding public and private property isn’t necessarily ok if you are not really disenfranchised especially if it has become a marketable phenomenon. Trying to ghettoise everything isn’t necessarily the way to go especially in Australia where the only ghettoes are probably the reserves in remote communities. When companies are sponsoring graffiti artists I think this can’t go anywhere good, not that I want to keep it real but ultimately I started graffiti because I could identify with the stories of people improving their lots in life through taking charge of their own destinies. In a way you could say that people riding the wave of this new kind of graffiti is the same thing but it can only be ruled by numbers. Graffiti was always a numbers game but the numbers will be financial and that is where it will eventually go wrong. The positive thing that we can all walk away with though is the acceptance of graffiti in a limited way. I see no reason to tag anything because I am not fighting against anything and I am not disenfranchised in any way. When I was younger I was angry and so I tagged nearly every day but at that time I didn’t own anything much or see any other way to focus my anger. It seems private property is here to stay but I can’t see any reason to tag unless you have little else and if you are doing it because you are sponsored by spray can companies it just seems strange. We really do live in interesting times.