WARNING: Contains flashing lights and rapidly changing colours.
For my final assignment I decided to do a general layout of a method of generating a movie out of random values. I attempted to design a computer program which would achieve the generation of those random bits of film with just one click. By generated by random values is meant that the frames of the film will be composed of random number of randomly positioned single coloured pixels in a black field. Each frame then would have its position in the film randomly decided. Not just the frames are going to be determined by random values but also other film dimensions such as duration, colouring patterns and soundtrack. The final program will produce films with random duration which are created entirely using random values with just one click. In the following paragraphs I will describe the general principles on which the program operates (at its current stage and how can those be developed) as well as the theoretical groundings of my work. I will also upload the code of program (at its current stage) and will appreciate any feedback or suggestions on how can I improve my method or the program itself as I consider this kind of ‘open source’ approach to projects the future of idea development.
As all the programming involved in this project would take considerably more time than I had for the completion of the assignment I did not achieved the final result I was aiming for completely. I was not able to get the program to the ‘one click’ stage. However, I developed it enough to create a sample of what can a film created in the program look like. This sample film which I am uploading is created with a random number of randomly generated frames as described above (and discussed in depth further). The duration for which the frames appear on screen is also decided by chance (even though it is not decided separately for each frame as I wanted to). There is no sound in the sample as time was short but below I will describe few ideas about how you can get a soundtrack generated by random values and apply it to the visual side of the film. I would like to underline that there is more to the dice metaphor in the title of the project. Yes, the film is as random as a dice throw, but also as with the dice throw there is a hand that triggers that randomness. As the person who throws the dice has in a sense some control over the outcome, the auteur of such type of random film has some, even if not direct, influence on the final result. I think here is appropriate to note that the sample film lost a lot of its original quality in its conversion to Vimeo.
At the beginning of this project I wanted to experiment with Deleuze’s (1969) concept of any-instant-whatever. At first I wanted to do a film without any privileged instants – all the frames would be of equal importance because all of them are created using the exact same process and ordered on the same basis random basis. However, working on the project I came up with the conclusion that even in those kind of films some instants may be considered superior or ‘privileged’. This may come out of the result of the random duration of the frames – the viewer will be exposed to some frames for some time while other frames might just appear briefly. Also, some frames would have many coloured pixels in them where others can be plain black. Even though the frames are equal as it comes to the process of their creation they are no longer of equal importance when attached all together in a film. Continuing with my research, the project became more closely related to one of the definition given for new media by Lev Manovich (2001). According to him, new media can be the encoding of a modernist avant-garde. New media can be an experimental tool for the arts. I think at later stages of the project I was pursuing its experimental value more than the better understanding of Deleuze’s concept of any-instant-whatever that it would bring me. Another aspect of the film that I found to be interesting for me to investigate is related to phenomenology – would a viewer attempt to attach meaning and will emotionally respond to a visual pattern created in such manner of randomness? I think there is no better way of investigating this but through my own and my friends’ experience. As for me, viewing the sample I would say that my mind attempted to find a pattern in the frequency of appearances of darker frames as opposed to brighter ones. Still, I am consciously trying to fight this primal attempt of meaning making as I know that all the film is decided by chance and even if there are some patterns they are also a random phenomena. As for my friends, viewing it some said that they see circles forming and even spinning clockwise. Others said that it appears like the static noise you get when your TV is not on a channel and makes no sense at all.