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Wed, 20 Jun 2007

2pm Wednesday 20 June 2007

Colour In Computer Art

British Computer Society
The Davidson Building
5 Southampton Street

Abstracts as provided by the speakers are shown below:

The Painting Fool - A First Look

Dr. Simon Colton
Imperial College
University of London

I'm interested in the question of what it means for a piece of software to be creative in the visual arts. In the talk, I will outline the notion of the creative tripod, where programs have to exhibit signs of skill, appreciation and imagination in order to be taken seriously as creative individuals. Most graphics programs used for the production of art concentrate entirely on enhancing the skill base of a human user. However, software such as Cohen's AARON could be said to have a degree of imagination and software such as Machado's NEvAr have a degree of appreciation. I will describe the current state of my SEPIA software and present some paintings that have resulted from using this software. I will also give some demonstrations of The Painting Fool (which uses SEPIA, and can be seen as my alter ego) putting together artworks. I'll present the first draft of my manifesto for software as art and of a manifesto for The Painting Fool. Naturally, the usage of colour has played a very important part in the development of SEPIA. I became interested in how to transfer art from the computer screen to the canvas, and two of the images I've produced have been painted by Brian Ashworth, an artist friend of mine. While Brian was able to mix the colours required because of his artistic abilities, I was interested in whether a novice painter (like me) could be shown not only where to put the paint on the canvas, but how to mix the paints to achieve the desired colours. With my business partner, Glen Pearson, this led to us setting up the CraftByNumbers service that produces full paint by numbers kits from a photograph provided by the customer. Part of the kit includes a colour mixing guide, which tells our customers how to mix triples of Daler-Rowney acrylics using our "dip and blob method" to achieve roughly 30 colours needed for their painting. In the talk, I'll discuss this, and describe the tortuous days that Glen and I spent mixing more than 1000 combinations of Daler-Rowney paints.

Dr. Simon Colton is a lecturer in Artificial Intelligence at the Department of Computing, Imperial College, London. His interests are in how to use AI techniques to produce programs that exhibit creative behaviour. He has written more than 70 publications on the topic of automatic scientific discovery, with an emphasis on mathematical creativity. His work has been recognised with a best paper award at the AAAI conference in 2000, and his PhD won the BCS/CPHC distinguished dissertation award in 2001. Firstly as a hobby, and more recently as work for the Machine Creations Ltd. company, he has developed various pieces of graphics software to explore the question of computational creativity in the visual arts. This has led to a commercial endeavour (www.craftbynumbers.com) and an artistic endeavour (www.thepaintingfool.com). Pieces produced by his software were exhibited in the "Computer Generated Art" group exhibition at Imperial College in 2006.

Colourfied: An Evolutionary Ecosystem of Colour
Jon McCormack, Centre for Electronic Media Art (CEMA)
Monash University

In biology, evolutionary synthesis is a process capable of generating unprecedented novelty, i.e. it is creative. It has been able to create things like prokaryotes, eukaryotes, higher multicellularity and language through a non-teleological process of replication and selection. We would like to adapt, on a metaphoric level, the mechanisms of biological evolution in order to develop new approaches to computational creativity. In Biology, the physical processes of replication and selection take place in an environment, populated by species that interact with and modify this environment, i.e. an ecosystem. Processes from biological ecosystems serve as inspiration for computational artificial ecosystems. The aim is to structure these artificial ecosystems in such a way that they exhibit novel discovery in a creative context rather than a biological one. Colourfield is a simple experiment in machine assisted creative discovery. It uses the metaphor of an adaptive ecosystem. A population of colours exists in a 1-dimensional world, and the colours are "grown" from a gene that expresses natural weights towards neighbouring colours along with an innate "personal" colour. The colours exist in a colour ecosystem, whereby luminance and chromatic values determine the supply of resources that feed an individual colour's growth (hence, its ability to change colour). Through a series of feedback mechanisms, and via an evolutionary process, colours adapt to their environment, often forming fields of colours that are aesthetically pleasing to the observer. The project is one of a number of experiments illustrating the usefulness of the ecosystem metaphor for creative discovery in artificial systems.

Jon McCormack (Monash University, Australia) is an Electronic Media Artist, co-director of the Centre for Electronic Media Art (CEMA) and Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Impossible Nature - a book about his work was published by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in 2004.

Mutating Colour
William Latham, Goldsmiths College
University of London

William Latham will discuss the use of colour in his Computer Artworks during the period 1987 to 1993 at IBM UK Laboratories & more recently on the Mutator 2 Project from 2005 at Goldsmiths College (University of London) using "real world" DNA data input from the Bioinformatics Group at Imperial College. Originally trained as artist he will explain his approach to colour from his very early computer artworks through to the DNA automatically generated colour schemes in his multi-coloured recent animated films. Topics include:- Colour for labelling elements of structure, 3D texture & proportional colouring by banding, mutating RGB values & navigating parametric colour space, the relationship between form & colour, the importance of white, the tricky relationship between colour, lighting and material values to get the right look, the benefits of stealing colour & lighting schemes from the Masters (e.g. Rembrandt, Magritte), animating colour for emotional response or retinal pleasure, colour in art & colour in scientific visualisation. The work will be contextualised in relation to Yoichiro Kawaguchi, Karl Sims & other computer graphic artists. Using specific examples from films & images during this period, including examples of different colouring programming systems used. Excerpts from:- "A Sequence from the Evolution of Form", "Organic TV" & new 3 minute film called "The History the Species" will be shown.

From 1987 to 1994 William Latham worked for IBM in their Advanced Computer Graphics and Visualisation Division at IBM Hursley near Winchester , and his Mutation work achieved world wide recognition at SIGGRAPH and other events and a number of IBM patents were published. He was co-author with Stephen Todd of the book "Evolutionary Art and Computers" published by Academic Press that is still recognised as a key work in this area. His organic artworks and films were shown worldwide in major touring exhibitions of the UK , Germany , Japan and Australia. William was CEO & Creative Director of computer games developer Computer Artworks Ltd from 1994 to 2003, hit games produced included The THING (Playstation2, Xbox and PC) that sold in excess of one million units worldwide, and was Number 1 hit in the UK and Germany . The Thing was published by Vivendi Universal in USA and Europe, and by Konami in Japan and the Far East . (The Thing game was the sequel to the cult John Carpenter Film The THING starring Kurt Russell). In 2004, recognising the ongoing increase in games budgets and increasing new investment from financial organisations outside the games industry William founded Games Audit Ltd. Games Audit Ltd is a project management and audit operation for the games industry and offers a wide range of services. Clients include Ingenious, Add Partners, IDGVE. From 2005 to April 2007 Latham was Professor of Creative Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University and in April 07 became a Professor in The Computing Department at Goldsmiths College ( University of London ). He continues to remain CEO of Games Audit. William has an MA from The Royal College of Art and a BA from Oxford University.

Colour, Symbol and Ambiguity
Paul Brown, University of Sussex

I am not an intuitive colourist and tend to use colour in my work in a symbolic sense to "tag" different areas of an image and differentiate the image plane. In this talk I will discuss two recent time-based generative works – 4^16 – and – 4^15 Studies in Perception. In the former I attempted to find a set of four colours that would emphasise the ambiguity of a geometry that could be interpreted as having either a horizontal/vertical or diagonal construction. In the latter the colour (and most of the other controls governing the work) are random. Here I have been surprised by the consistency and quality of the colour in contradiction to my initial expectation that the work would often devolve into mud.

Paul Brown is an artist and writer who is based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. His pioneering work in the computational and generative art dates back to the early 1970's. He is currently the Chair of the Computer Arts Society and a visiting professor of art & technology at Sussex University where he is working on a project to evolve a robot that can draw.

Tue, 01 May 2007

4:45 - 5:45pm Tuesday 1 May 2007

Cat Hill Campus: Room 137
Middlesex University

Joint meeting with the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts at Middlesex University.

Paul Brown
Artist and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics and Department of Informatics, University of Sussex

Still from Infinite Permutations - V1,
Kinetic Painting,
Paul Brown, 1992.

Paul Brown was working with concepts of systems, process and interaction in the 1960s when he discovered computers at the Cybernetic Serendipity show at the ICA in 1968. Since 1974 his work has involved computational processes and he is now acknowledged as a pioneer of generative and a-life art.

In this talk he explains his early influences, his work over four decades and ends with an overview of his most recent project where he is working with a multi-disciplinary team to evolve a robot that can draw.

See also:

More information about this and other Lansdown Lectures see www.cea.mdx.ac.uk.

Paul Brown was born in Halifax, England in 1947 and has lived in Australia since 1988. He founded Middlesex' National Centre for Computer Aided Art and Design (NCCAAD) and Centre for Advanced Study in Computer Aided Art and Design (CASCAAD - now the Lansdown Centre) in the mid 1980s.

Wed, 18 Apr 2007

6:30 for 7:00 Wednesday 18 April 2007

Speaker: John Sharp

London Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald St

Computer Arts Society - public meeting.

I read chemistry at Oxford and spent some time in Industry, mainly as an analytical chemist, but soon after I left University I went to the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition at the ICA which changed what I felt I wanted to do. I had been using conventional media to produce similar work based on mathematics (mostly geometry) and would have really liked to move onto computers, but it was another 10 years with the Apple II before I was able to fulfil that dream. Previously the only contact I had had with computer art was as member 142 of the Computer Arts Society.

In learning computing from that point, I changed careers mostly writing computer documentation, initially setting up the document department at Epson UK. I also taught geometry and art part time. Since the CAS in its first life folded, apart from students, my main contact with other artists working in a similar area was sporadic until I became part of the Bridges Conferences on Mathematical Connections in Art Science and Music. In 2006 I was instrumental in bringing it to London and was one of the major organisers.

Through Bridges and the Internet I have worked with many other artists and this talk is the about the wide range of work I have produced using the computer both two and three dimensional, including the paper sculpture I am most widely known for: Sliceforms and how I have worked with other mathematical artists at Bridges.

Tue, 03 Apr 2007

6.30pm for 7pm Tuesday 3 April 2007

Speaker: Alan Sutcliffe

Nick Lambert's Office (Formerly The CACHe Office)
43 Gordon Square

43 is roughly in the middle of the east side of Gordon Square. The snack bar will be open before the meeting.

Earning money by teaching has been common and honourable for artists, compromising their time but not their art. The role of technology in the arts has brought new academic settings for artists. Art work is subject to the standards of research, and gets distorted. Some conferences and research seem based on naive notions that art is about expression, beauty, emotion and now communication. More like oblique and evocative. Academic freedom and artistic freedom are important and different.

Tue, 06 Feb 2007

6.30pm Tuesday 6 February 2007

Speaker: Alan Sutcliffe

System Simulation Ltd
Bedford Chambers
The Piazza Covent Garden

Is the horizon straight or curved?
Are the rules of perspective correct?
Historically, have some ratios been preferred in art and design?
What effect does the functioning of the eyes have?
Should we change what is being taught?

A discussion, open to all, led by Alan Sutcliffe.

Tue, 12 Dec 2006

Tuesday 12 December 2006

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Lambert, Birkbeck College

Cat Hill Campus: Room 137
Middlesex University

John Lansdown was a founder member of the CAS and the pioneer after whom the Lansdown Centre is named.

To date, the history of computer graphics has tended to be dominated by the record of American contributors, but in the CACHe project, Nick and his colleagues have revealed the history of the UK contribution in which John Lansdown was a key figure. Nick will look at several early articles John Lansdown wrote in the 1960s-70s and consider how clearly he foresaw the potentials and development of modern computer art.

A joint meeting between the Lansdown Centre at Middlesex University and the Computer Arts Society.

The campus is a simple Tube ride from central London, and within easy reach of the M25. Location in Google Maps: tinyurl.com/yhpcgy

Admission is free.

If you would like to attend this lecture, please email LCEAinfo@mdx.ac.uk. Any enquires to Stephen Boyd Davis s.boyd-davis@mdx.ac.uk.

Tue, 14 Nov 2006

6:30pm for 7:00pm Tuesday 14th November 2006

Imperial College
Lecture Theatre 308
Department of Computing
Huxley Building
180 Queens Gate
South Kensington
London SW7 2RH

A meeting of The Computer Arts Society in association with the Dept. of Computing, Imperial College.


For the past twenty years the AARON Program has been a rule-based "expert system," steadily accumulating higher levels of expertise in coloring its images. Its rule-base has also become increasingly detailed and complex, to the point where making changes, or adding new rules, often resulted in broken code buried elsewhere, deep in the Program.

A few months ago its author, Harold Cohen, abandoned this long-developed, highly successful system in favor of a remarkably simple algorithm, which not only performed as well as its predecessor, but also extended the range of AARON's coloring strategies. This algorithmic approach is now in its third version, and the Program exhibits a high level of control over the "kind" of coloring it does.

In this talk, Cohen describes the color technology underlying the new approach and how twenty years of accumulated expertise were collapsed into a few lines of simple code and how and why it works as well as it does.

Thu, 28 Sep 2006

6 - 8pm 28 September 2006

Speaker: Paul Brown

This presentation is an idiosyncratic and non-rigorous account of my work as an artist who has been involved in the field now known as Artificial Life for over 30 years. To give the audience some context I begin with a few opinions that define my position within the visual arts (which is far from the current mainstream) and then go on to describe early influences from the 1960s and 70s that have framed my involvement in the field of computational arts. This includes some examples of my work from this period. The latter part of the essay describes my working methodology and includes examples of my more recent work and ends with some speculations about where I may go in the future.

About the Speaker

Paul Brown is an artist and writer who has been specialising in art and technology for over 30 years. In 1984 he was the founding head of the UK's National Centre for Computer Aided Art and Design and in 1994 he returned to Australia after a two-year appointment as Professor of Art and Technology at Mississippi State University to head Griffith University's Multimedia Unit. In 1996 was the founding Adjunct Professor of Communication Design at Queensland University of Technology.

From 1997-99 he was Chair of the Management Board of the Australian Network for Art Technology and is currently chair of the Computer Arts Society. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards for LEA, the e-journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (MIT Press), and the journal Digital Creativity (Routledge). From 1992 to 1999 he edited fine Art forum, one of the Internet's longest established art 'zines and he is currently moderator of the DASH (Digital ArtS Histories) and CMCA (Computational Models of Creativity in the Arts) e-lists.

His computer generated artwork has been exhibited internationally since 1967 and is currently on show in Europe, Russia, the USA and Australia.

During 2000/2001 he was a New Media Arts Fellow of the Australia Council and he spent 2000 as artist-in-residence at the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR) at the University of Sussex in Brighton. From 2002-05 he was visiting fellow at the School of History of Art, Film and Visual Media at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he worked on the CACHe (Computer Arts, Contexts, Histories, etc...) research project. He is currently (2005-08) a visiting professor and artist-in-residence at the School of Informatics, University of Sussex where he is working on a CCNR project to evolve robots that can exhibit creative behaviour.

Examples of his artwork and publications are available on his web site at: Paul's site

Mon, 10 Jul 2006

6:30 for 7:00 Monday 10 July 2006

Speaker: Lin Hsin Hsin

System Simulation Ltd
Bedford Chambers
The Piazza
Covent Garden

Tel: 020 7836 7406


The combination of digital technology and the easy accessibility of drag and drop, cut and paste, morph and tween, music samplers and computers, networks and downloads have irrevocably changed the way art, sound, music and animation are produced and perceived. As digital art, music and animation spawn to become a profound means of expression in their own right, a new breed of technology must be forged to set new directions of creating and generating different genres of art, music and animation. However, the interest and assimilation of new and untried technologies is not based on a sure wager on notions of the "borrowed", nor it is based on converting the "analog world" to the digital, or even the digitally recorded sources. As such, the speaker attempts to reload the fundamental of zeros and ones, formulating and formatting the simplicity (or complexity) of the basics to generate art, sound, music and animation.

Duration: 1 hour, Q&A c15 mins

Lin Hsin Hsin Art Museum: www.lhham.com.sg/


Lin Hsin Hsin is an artist, poet and composer from Singapore, deeply rooted in information technology. She was born in Singapore. She graduated in mathematics from the University of Singapore and received a postgraduate degree in computer science from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. She studied music and art in Singapore, printmaking at the University of Ulster, papermaking in Ogawamachi, Japan and paper conservation at the University of Melbourne Conservation Services.

Hsin Hsin has held solo exhibitions in Singapore, Amsterdam and San Jose, California, USA. She has participated in exhibitions across Asia, Europe, North America and South America. In 1985, she was awarded a silver medal by the SociÈtÈ des Artistes FranÁais, Paris. In 1987, she received the IBM Singapore Art Award. Her artworks are in private, public and museum collections in Asia, Europe and North America.

Lin Hsin Hsin is a digital media pioneer. She has created the 1st digital music in 1985, 1st 3D digital art in 1987, 1st digital animation in 1989 in Singapore. In 1994, she set up one of the earliest virtual museums in the world, the Lin Hsin Hsin Art Museum. Lin Hsin Hsin created Web art and Net art in 1995, and she has developed interactive Web art since 1997. She pioneered virtual sculpting in 1999 in Singapore; it was exhibited in Paris, France.

Thu, 29 Jun 2006

Thursday 29 June 2006

Speaker: Patrick Tresset

System Simulation Ltd
Bedford Chambers
The Piazza
Covent Garden

Tel: 020 7836 7406

Computer Arts Society
Public Meeting

AIKON: Artistic~Automated IKONograph.

AIKON mimics the drawing process developed by the artist, Patrick Tresset. AIKON is able to sketch faces automatically, starting from a picture, typically a photographic snapshot of a scene with humans. AIKON's implementation relies on an understanding of human visual perception, of the artist's work process, and of advances made in computer vision.

Tresset is currently finishing an MSc in Arts Computing at Goldsmiths College. He will then pursue his research at Goldsmiths' Digital Studios preparing for a PhD. Patrick studied computer sciences twenty years ago in France. He then came to London to become a painter. During the past 15 years he has participated in solo and group exhibitions in London and Paris. During the past 3 years his interest in computing was revived. Joining forces with Frederic Fol Leymarie in 2004, he has been developing the AIKON project. Patrick main interest is to create autonomous systems capable of interpreting visual reality and producing artistic results.

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