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Art

MC Escher Meets Mondrian in Code-Generated Marker Drawings

A look at the machine-made magic of Miguel Nóbrega.

by Beckett Mufson
04 November 2015, 7:25pm

Plausible Spaces, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015.Images courtesy the artist

When is not-drawing just as creative as drawing? When you figure out how to program a computer to draw for you, that's when. Artist and coder Miguel Nóbrega has launched an online gallery showcasing three sets of drawings he made with markers, a few lines of code, and a CNC milling machine and vinyl cutter. The resulting forms skirt the line between physical and digital renderings, conjuring the abstract work of modernist painters, computer-generated net art, and a touch of inspiration from an architecture catalog. 

"The images generated by Nóbrega's program read as architectural structures, however they are not realisable in an architectural sense," reads his project description. "In his program, Nóbrega defines the objects as graphic representations of simple architectural elements such as walls, floor, columns, stairs etc. Every time the code runs, the elements instantiate with new randomly generated properties and are arranged in a unique composed structure." 

Plausible Spaces, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015

The artist uses different patterns generated with Processing to create each of three image sets: POSSIBLE STRUCTURESPOTENTIAL SCULPTURES, and PLAUSIBLE SPACESEach has the same set of rules, but with different random decisions spread throughout. Drawings in the first set look like they were cooked up by a trained architect who had no concept of gravity and loved colors. The second look like elegant spaceships inspired by Mondrian. The third look like caves carved out by MC Escher on mescaline.

"Randomness balances the authorship of the work between the artist and the code itself, or more specifically, the executable quality of code," the description continues. "Whatever emerges from executing the code cannot be entirely predicted from just reading it. Nóbrega understands his process as one of defining the boundaries in which experiments will take place. The outcomes of these experiments are sometimes unpredictable, which will most likely add up to the process in a feedback loop. The role of the artist ends up being to interpret the results and based on them to redefine the boundaries of the program."

Check out Nóbrega's process in the video below, and see the full sets on his website.

Possible Structures, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015.

Possible Structures, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015.

Potential Sculptures, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015

Potential Sculptures, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015

Plausible Spaces, Miguel Nóbrega, 2015

See the full set on Miguel Nóbrega's website.

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Tagged:
Ink
abstract
code
creative coding
Processing
CNC
CNC machine
marker
code art
computer generated art
Miguel Nóbrega
PLAUSIBLE SPACES
POSSIBLE STRUCTURES
POTENTIAL SCULPTURES