simple things
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TOBIAS REBER WRITES:

"There's beauty in simple things." — Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez in the project's liner notes.

An artist-programmer often follows a known trajectory to advance their skillset: a journey to deepen complexity, expand narratives, or mesmerize their audience with ever more ingenious twists and novelties.

However, any aspiring master regularly revisits the fundamentals of their craft. And indeed, there may come the point when they make the fundamentals themselves the focus of a piece, often leading to a body of études.

simple things by Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez is just such a return to the basics, by a master of his craft. In this piece, the artist sends streams of circles across the screen. The number, sizes, speeds, and direction of movement vary. The color palettes range from monochrome to the explosions of color that Soria-Rodríguez has become known for. At first sight, that appears to cover most of the artwork’s offerings.

However, an ongoing theme in the artist's recent work is the subject of playful learning. So it is also present here: sending groups of circles across a screen is a staple of graphical programming when it comes to teaching the fundamentals of working with arrays.

It’s incredibly satisfying to see these basic shapes jiggle across the screen in a seemingly uncontrolled fashion, and it is this excitement that simple things first elicits. It may also remind older viewers of the amazement of experiencing a simple mouse pointer trail effect many decades ago: using a computer can be playful while also being practical.

Part of generative art’s intrigue is how it often represents the complicated (i.e., human-made technology) and the complex (such as the organic, emergent, chaotic properties of the natural world). So, while "there's beauty in simple things," we perceive that beauty because there is more than meets the eye.

The longer we look, the more we see that various complex principles govern the motion in simple things. Dots become placeholders for things we remember or imagine: they appear like fish jumping out of water or bugs engaged in a mating dance and mosquitos frantically circling a light source. They are dandelion seeds carried away by the wind or pollen patterns formed on a stream of water, rendering visible the turbulence that animates them. Look long enough and they depict broader systems at play – bubbles emerging from the depths, cells flowing through organisms, or simply a primal expression of life force.

Like many Soria-Rodríguez pieces, the viewer/learner/user can experiment with its settings, creating subtle to radical variations.

Read rest of Twitter thread...

The "extra" feature (hint: type it!) gives the piece yet another appearance. We are reminded that a simple thing may reveal a nourishing depth if we let our attention sink into it. Or, in the words of the musician Robert Fripp, "just below the surface of our everyday world lie riches."

Artist's Description
There’s beauty in simple things. Sunlight. A reflection on a puddle. The flight of a bird. Observing the clouds. Spending time with loved ones. To celebrate the re-opening of fxhash, I'd like to contribute with some simple thing to enjoy among friends who rejoin after some time. Simple things is a piece that is just that: simple things. Nothing fancy here. Simple circles doing simple movement, with simple colours. Maybe the viewer will rejoice in observing them transit on the screen. It has some controls: you can press “s” to save a png file. You can set a higher resolution pressing “d” followed by 1-9 to increase pixel density (if you get a black image, press “d 0” and start again with a lower number). Simple controls. It has also colour controls: press z for brightness, x for contrast, g for gamma, b for blur, n for noise followed by + or - to alter their values. You might get some simple variations that you might enjoy. Press a to enable/disable all colour controls (except the noise). The pieces exhibit simple variations: palettes, circle sizes, density of elements, backgrounds. The colours might be inverted sometimes. The direction of the movement changes also in some pieces. Some are grayscale pieces. Just like in life, enjoying simple things is sometimes enough to leave behind the noise and our worries. Also like in life, if one wants something extra, they may get it by looking for it... Artwork by Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez, @msoriaro. Made in p5.js, and glsl for the image controls.
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