This is our third exhibition in three years. There are 4 of our special cube videos, and a new 88 image grid of the 40 year history, starting with my code for MA1 in 1983 (BASIC screen shot) and ending with the new Spatial VR Micro Arts gallery.
I am editing an anthology of AI co-created fiction. This is due next month. During this I experimented with text to image using NightCafe and now Midjourney. I won’t go into the technicalities (use search) but prompt programming is the key.
It is a lot of fun and is a form of ‘casual’ or ambient creativity, but can also be used for mock ups and start work etc, or to get ideas for further human artwork.
The system makes 4 images as below, and then you select and upscale the subjectively best one. This is how the ‘AI’ is being trained or improved, via human quality selections.
Midjourney system – prompt was “Computer art in the style of Micro Arts Group Geoff Davis”
Midjourney system – prompt was “Computer art in the style of Micro Arts Group MA4 Story Generator” – this was a text generator, so it gets the monochrome right, and one has a keyboard.
Midjourney system – prompt was “Computer art in the style of Micro Arts Group Martin Rootes” – this has the BBC Micro in it too, must have found that in the training data
This 10th SPARKS session welcomes the presentation of artworks and projects that represent the continuum of image making and that reveal the essential ways that digital tools have moved it forward. Thus, we are looking for artists, theorists, researchers and practitioners of any image making practice to present and talk about works that range from fully digital, to a hybrid of digital and traditional practice that illustrate the growth of image making since the onset of widely available digital tools. The work or aesthetics may be about the medium or they might simply tell a story or illustrate concepts.
We are interested in a range of approaches including those from the past and those from the bleeding edge, using out of the box or homespun tools. Still images of any kind are welcome as our ultimate goal is to not only establish how digital methods are essential to image making, but also to highlight and perhaps remind us that the single image is still powerful and still important now, more than ever.
There’s a really useful source for historical digital art information. This is run by Terrance Masson who has 25 years of production experience. His work includes Star Wars movie CGI, interactive SimCity4, and award-winning short animated films such as Bunkie & Booboo. He also made the computer graphics pipeline for SouthPark.
I met Patryk at the recent 8-bit exhibition in Leicester. He is a prolific recordist in live settings such as parks or old buildings. He suggested doing a concert in the Lightbox gallery space at LCB Depot. The excellent result is below.
Etalon Production – Air, Pressure and Tension | Less Solid Dialect (vol.4) 2021 | PATRYK JAWORSKI
Micro Arts exhibition at the LCB Depot, 31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE until Saturday 26 June 2021. Curated by Sean Clark of the Computer Arts Archive & Computer Arts Society, UK.
Geoff doing a talk 9/6/2021 at the 8-bit Micro Arts Exhibition Leicester 2021. Images from MA1 (Lines) and MA2 (Studio) on display.
This big show had image stills from most of Geoff Davis‘s work from the MA1 “Abstract Originals” release, plus some from MA2 Various Unusual Events along with Martin Rootes MA3 release. There was a page from Geoff’s MA4 Story Generator.
There was a real time live run of the MA1 algorhythmic art, which means the 1980s code was providing live ambient art, as intended in the notes for the original data cassette.
There were displays of the artefacts like data cassettes and deck, and the Micro Arts Magazine. See the navigation here for more details of the MA releases, and the videos etc.
Lots of photos below, and more on a link at the bottom.
Plus two 8-bit micro controlled installations are in the exhibition, an interactive audio piece from Virtual Ground and a visual sculpture by Sean Clark, both of which used 8-bit micro controllers. Please note the MA1 art was 4-bit. The spectrum colour system is quite limited, so extra creativity was required, see Spectrum Graphic Modes Wiki
Photo credits: Sean Clark
All photo credits in the set below (covering set up and talks): Sean Clark
Join the artists for the launch of the show and as part of the of the 8-bit exhibition, short talks from Micro Arts founder Geoff Davis and exhibition curator Sean Clark from the Computer Arts Archive. You will need to wear a facemask in the gallery. Talks start at 7pm. Grays Cafe Bar will be open for drinks in the courtyard.
This came up at the Leicester 8bit exhibition. I was chatting to a musician (there was an audio installation from Virtual State), and he wondered if data cassettes were CD quality.
A data cassette is a stream of information, encoded as beeps, which are bits in on/off mode, this is then much speeded up to fit on a tape. So the audio is just zeroes and ones. This is read by an audio decoder in the micro, to convert the audio beeps back into bits.
This was also how micro programmers worked, saving to tape. This was not a pro game shop, I just started up Micro Arts at home in Clapham.
Older readers will recall the noisy screech of modems. Even older readers will remember these tapes and the tape decks.
However, the cassettes last a long time, when I opened the cardboard box in which stored Micro Arts materials, around 2019, all the tapes loaded perfectly into a PC Spectrum emulator. Apparently, as I moved about a lot (I’ve lived in many places), the oxide doesn’t get settled, so they are more reliable. That’s weird. Pretty long term when you think about it.