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Bleeding Edge Technology is Made for Silly Art

The only defensible use for bleeding edge tech is play!

I've had the pleasure this week of going through some of my old creative work while moving my favorite projects to my personal lifelong domain (the website you are reading this on). It feels like the computer equivalent of finding old photos in the attic, laughing by yourself at dusty photos that only mean something to you.

These projects feel like time capsules from a different era. Things have been moving so fast!

While dumpster diving, it occurs to me that many of these are my favorite works. These projects are a true representation of both sides of my brain working in harmony with one another. And I really think they are all something special.


Why Silly Art and Bleeding Edge Tech Go so Well Together

Art needs no explanation. In fact, the best art precludes explanation, it resists summarization.

Untitled - Salvador Dali

Technology, on the other hand, craves order; logic. Software especially.

When technology and art are combined intentionally, they create a yin and yang of sorts. There is a dance between the explosive spontaneity of human emotion and the cold hard collapse of binary logic. One leads, the other follows. One, two, one, two, one, two. (or maybe zero, one?)

Sadly, I've met very few people who see this. There are few who can have their vision in both domains, to look in opposite directions, while seeing the same thing. I've met fewer who can do technology and art, to take up residence in the paradox, and not be broken by it.

Most often out in the world, technology is paired with "business". You'll see Twitter demos, Hacker News "Show HN" launches, or networking meetups filled with bright eyed CS new grads, each with their unique vision of changing the world. They hope that their software-business model will become a unicorn, attract funding or at least, get a lot of stars on GitHub. Hell, I've made those too.

But to be honest, that model sucks.


Business requires a need. Running a business is a needy endeavor. All businesses do well by: 1) solving a problem 2) not running out of people with that problem to pay for your solution 3) extracting profit off of the cost of solving said problem.

Indeed, this is why technology (software especially) works so well for business. If you can codify a great solution, you can scale to damn near the entire human population at an extremely low marginal cost per user. Literally killing two birds with one stone.

But again, business itself is needy. It needs to be seen, it needs to be defended against competition, it needs to be bought. This neediness rubs off on everyone who comes in contact with it. "Buy now!", it screams. "Work more hours!", it screams. And soon, everyone is put off, but they can't put their finger on why. It's just…bleh?

In addition to the neediness of business, there is the obvious problem. Bleeding edge technology, by definition, is immature. This means that anyone selling you on it generously has perhaps 1-3 months of experience with it. They then claim expertise, and expect you to take that expertise at face value. The only way to really learn a technology is to spend time with it, to understand the rules at play. At the bleeding edge phase, most rules have yet to be uncovered. It's the same as trying to guess the ending of a book while you are on page five. Be patient. The rules will reveal themselves.

People rush to making a business when a new technology emerges. I think this is a mistake. You should spend your time making art.


Augmented Reality

The World’s First AR Rapper
Look out for M.P. in the XXL Freshman 2021
My 27th Birthday Party
Inviting all my closest friends to my 27th


A Candid Conversation with my Artificial Self
Using GPT-3 to get to the brass tacks of humanity in an AI world
A Skyrim Mod Using GPT-3
The rise of the mods

Generative Art

I Must Find A Place For Their Souls To Rest
I’m done with the feelings I’ve learned to know in paradox
Embeddings as Shapes v0.1
Embeddings, this time as shapes! (v0.1)

See more examples here.

Creators Who Successfully Straddle Art and Technology

This list is not exhaustive!

Michael Reeves
William Osman
Hi, it’s me! Dubious quality. Questionable integrity. Unethical delivery. Sometimes the best lessons teach what not to do.
shindigs VODs
VODs from Twitch Stream
Porter Robinson
Video’s delen met vrienden, familie en de rest van de wereld
Games, visualizations, interactives and other weird stuff.
Kicks Condor
Tyler Hobbs | Generative Art
The artwork of Tyler Hobbs, a practicing generative artist, creative coder, and painter, whose work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and has been collected around the world.
Home | DougDoug
Welcome to the Honorable Douglas Academy,the home of YouTuber & Twitch streamer DougDoug. Check out DougDoug and find more about him here. Links to his YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Discord & Reddit can be found here.
Artist and creative technologist focused on artificial intelligence ☾ *✧.
Homepage / LOST PIXELS
LOST PIXELS is the online portfolio and store of Digital Artist James Merrill, featuring digital abstract and surreal artwork, experimental short films, and generative algorithmic plotter drawings.
Lingdong Huang
v3ga — Julien Gachadoat
Generative art & plotter art
Sending things to Earth... Bits... Html... Rainbows…
橋本 麦 - Baku Hashimoto
Baku Hashimoto is Tokyo based visual artist, video director, and creative coder.
Noah Veltman
Projects, photos, fun facts, and other weird internet things.
Robin Sloan
The home page of Robin Sloan, author of the novels Sourdough and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
Multi-layered calendars (new) The power of defaults Banking on status Chief Notion Officer Is this real life? A meta-layer for notes Proof of X Thoughts on e-commerce (Part 2) Thoughts on e-commerce (Part 1) AirPods as a platform Signaling as a service Superhuman &am
Irene Alvarado
Portfolio website of creative technologist and UX designer Irene Alvarado. Currently at Google Creative Lab.
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