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Incomplete Falling Trees - Part 3/3

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: December 26, 2019

Artist Description: This small series of Incomplete Falling Trees, fully coded in Processing, is dedicated to Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem, which roughly claims that 'there are truths that cannot be formally proved' (the presice statement in inscribed in the artwork itself). Gödel brilliant proof rests on a self-referencing formula G that speaks about itself and says 'G is not provable in any consistent formal system'. The sentence is true but unprovable. Also this artwork is self-referencing, since its generating code is graven into the artwork itself. The artwork's DNA is part of the artwork generated with the DNA. The artwork is naked, it has no hidden secret. You can use the printed code and generate precisely the same artwork, or almost. Since the code uses randomness, the outcome will be most likely slightly different. Incomplete Falling Trees is in fact a generating machine of Incomplete Falling Trees.

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

“This small series of Incomplete Falling Trees, fully coded in Processing, is dedicated to Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem, which roughly claims that 'there are truths that cannot be formally proved' (the precise statement in inscribed in the artwork itself). Gödel brilliant proof rests on a self-referencing formula G that speaks about itself and says 'G is not provable in any consistent formal system'. The sentence is true but unprovable. Also this artwork is self-referencing, since its generating code is graven into the artwork itself. The artwork's DNA is part of the artwork generated with the DNA. The artwork is naked, it has no hidden secret. You can use the printed code and generate precisely the same artwork, or almost. Since the code uses randomness, the outcome will be most likely slightly different. Incomplete Falling Trees is in fact a generating machine of Incomplete Falling Trees.”

Woah. I’d be lying if I said I understood all of that, but that’s kind of Hex6c’s thing: achieving artistic brilliance on a level slightly above the understanding of most observers, myself included. We’re forced to reckon with that fact when looking on this piece, the third from Hex’s Incomplete Falling Trees series, that we’re trying to catch up with a mind many moves ahead. Fortunately, Hex isn’t always this difficult to discern. This is an artist with limitless interest, and we find him sporadically exploring color, exploring movement, exploring particle-ization, exploring shapes or language or lines, fractals and geometric figures, mandalas, character studies, and, yes, as in Incomplete Falling Trees, code. Hex’s is one of the most prolific artistic outputs I’ve ever seen, a Superrare page alone that contains 160 artworks, many of them in competing styles, with no seeming logic as to why they’ve been placed together, why they’ve piqued Hex’s curiosity in continuity. Nevertheless, generative artwork of a sort is close to Hex’s heart, and we see the artist constantly playing with various levels of generation and algorithmic composition within his works. The Incomplete Falling Trees series has a special place in the history of algorithmic art, and it’s my inkling that exposure to this piece would go a long way towards the widespread legitimization of AI art in general.

And that’s because we rarely get to see the actual human-inputted code behind any generative artwork. Quite often, we hear a stifled chorus of generative art detractors. In fact, just the other day I came across a long-winded but brilliantly-worded essay about the dangers of generative art, the soullessness of a form that does not require human input or human consciousness or human observation to sustain itself. I would like to point that writer towards Incomplete Falling Trees - Part 3/3 and see what they have to say. Because Hex6c positions himself here as the patriarch of this and any ensuing artwork. He includes the code that created this piece, includes it along the image’s left flank and lets it waterfall down the length of the piece as if the whole thing were a PC command box. I can’t decipher this information. But I know that in the three Incomplete Falling Trees pieces, the aesthetic outcome is slightly different despite the same code. Randomization is baked into the code itself, which means any outcome is going to be as much a surprise to Hex as it will be to us. And what we see when we place the three images side by side is the full scope of human influence when it comes to generated artwork.

How the human sets the limits. How the human sifts throughout outputs to select ones that match the idea they intended to put forth. I tend to shy away from the argument that generative artworks are somehow lacking human touch. Instead, I tend to look on them as distant generations away from a human’s touch. Somewhere, a human’s ideating set a computer’s action in motion, and even if generations upon generations later the computer has built algorithmic outputs atop itself, there will always be that central node, the starting point that bears the artist’s name, which is same spark that God once visited upon Earth (in certain Biblical traditions I don’t necessarily ascribe to). I think then it’s fitting that Hex6c would choose trees for his subjects, trees composed of fractals.

Hex6c positions himself as the life-giver, not just in terms of the final products but in terms of the individual mathematic properties which give rise to them. In other words, he designs not just the inhabitants of his planet, but the physical properties which allow them to survive there. 

All of this is without mentioning the color scheme, the loamy ochre and the dark emerald green of the trees which populate it, sporadic like we’re looking upon a savannah. And instead of being dotted with fauna, the landscape is dotted instead with code. Life of a different kind. But with the same potential patriarchal properties. 

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