It’s been more than 3 years since I’ve updated this project. A lot of that time was spent on other work, but this project has consistently stayed on my mind. Now I’m coming back to it with a fat stack of notebooks full of ideas and a clarified sense of why this is worth pursuing.
What is the relevance of robots to painting? Here, combining the two is about creating an excuse to use a visceral, emotional medium to find and express ideas that capture something of the truths encoded in the boundary between ordered systems and chaotic ones.
I’m obsessed with the apparent paradox that great complexity can “grow” out of near uniformity evolving according to relatively simple rules. I wonder what limits of understanding may exist for agents, like us, embedded in the systems they are observing. I worry that I don’t have the right tools to identify, understand, or communicate the insights that might come from pondering these apparent paradoxes. I’m not going to make any scientific discoveries or write down any mathematical proofs about them. But I can at least make progress on them in a way that is personally meaningful to me.
That’s where this work comes in. I aim to use painting as a petri dish of chaos that happens to grow artifacts that can be meaningful to me and potentially carry some meaning to others. I’m building my own kinds of instruments for probing it that are biased by my interests in complexity theory and beyond. Robotics is just my chosen means for putting the instances of order and chaos that I’m excited by in close contact, and a platform for building tools to guide, capture, and communicate the activity that results.