Creating Art Works using Algorithms and Hands by Azure Qianwen Zhang

Article  /  Research   AzureQianwenZhang   Making   Education   Technics
Published: 02.04.2018
Azure Qianwen Zhang Azure Qianwen Zhang
Azure QianWen Zhang
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Universal Setting Experiments by Azure Zhang..
Universal Setting Experiments by Azure Zhang.

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In this dissertation, I chose algorithm as an example for science and technology because I am more familiar with computer science and mathematics than other subjects and have the experience of creating art work using algorithms.


The contemplation starts from my curiosity: where does the inspiration come from in jewellery designing and making? As a maker having computer science background, it comes as a habit to approach things from two ways, digital and handcraft. Digital, in this paper, refers to algorithms specifically as it is a pivotal concept in computer science. This paper explores the rationale behind inspiration by analyzing these two creativity processes.

I discuss algorithmic art and handcraft respectively following the structure of concept, case study and my own experiments analysis. Islamic art, as an ancient example of the implementation of algorithmic art, is introduced as a case study. This implies the fact that algorithm does not just exist in computer science in this modern world, it is a very old and universal concept indicating a series of instructions. As for handcraft, a sensory communication with the brain makes it distinctive. However, does mindset a limitation to hand’s performance? The movement repetition is analyzed as a case study, which is also a perfect counterpart of algorithms in this context.

Azure Zhang Hexagon Star by Grasshopper 2016.

An integrated vision of algorithms and hands is addressed next. The beauty reveals itself along with the variations in the repetitions. Randomness and order are discussed here, corresponding to variation and repetition. These two keywords provide both similarities and differences of the two creativity processes, namely algorithms and hands.
Finally, I touch the topic slightly from a spiritual perspective. Examining all previous chapters, including the divinity of algorithms and mathematics shown in Islamic art as well as the constraints our mind may put on our hands, a few further questions are brought up. What is the role of our own mind or brain in an inspirational moment? Do we lose the opportunity for a bigger picture when we focus too much on our own mind? Perhaps a more appropriate word for being inspired is discovery rather than creativity.

Mathematics Functions Generated Image I and II by Azure Zhang, 2012.

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About the author

Azure Qianwen Zhang graduated from Royal College of Art Jewellery and Metal Research in 2017. She also has a Master degree from UCL in Human-Computer Interaction. Having a background in computer science makes her research and making the process quite different from others. She took part in the exhibition Perfect Strangers in Munich Jewellery Week 2018. She is running a gallery called Spectrum Art Space in Shanghai now.