The Chimerist

Posts tagged Whitney Museum

Scott Snibbe first created Tripolar, a drawing app that “animates the tangled, abstract, ever-changing forms a pendulum makes as it swings” over magnets, for the Whitney’s CODeDOC internet exhibition in 2002. The idea was to explore “the relationship between a software artist’s code and the resulting work of art” but also to ”suggest the connection between mental states and chatic phenomena: if even a simple physicial system is so unpredictable and sensitive to initial conditions, what about our minds?” 

The drawings are stark and often gorgeous at first, a series of abstract black English roses, but if you let the pendulum swing too long you’ll end up with a knotted mass of virtual string. This continuum between beauty and disaster also suggests — and to some degree mirrors — the tension between spontaneity and control in other, more traditional forms of art.

Should the novelist endlessly tinker with adjectives, or will the book be stronger, as Borges suggests Twain’s was, if he leaves the mistakes but maintains a strong voice? Does she find the story as she goes, or does she need to know the plot in advance? 

When is an work of art finished? The artist must know. Or decide.

(For more straightforward pendulum fun, try Newton’s Cradle. And Rhizome has a brief history of the Whitney Artport.)

Maud Newton