Chance Operations

Time-Out / Temps Mort by Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects ~ Image Source: Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an Upgrade! SF meeting filled with artists, writers, theorists, and curators within the new media arts community. The evening was filled with conversation around Chance Operations and stochastic methods related to the art making process. Luke Ogrydziak, principal architect at Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects gave a brief talk around chance in the architecture and design processes. His presentation touched heavily on the idea of indeterminable factors affecting a final outcome or product. For instance, some of the objects constructed through C++ programming language. Although there is an element of precision through the computation, the digital environment also allows for chance to create sculptural pieces such as Time-Out / Temps Mort (pictured). Specific constraints may prohibit physical and manual production of this piece but Chance Operations, with advancements in technology, allow for organic forms to emerge.

Matt Ganucheau, San Francisco based artist, views chance as a sterile aspect of the art making process. Chance requires a bit of action. He stated,

Chance is a stimulant that requires an agent and a seed. Once you increase the production, you begin to see repeat occurrences, thus chance increases. It is always apart of the process but only through repetition do we see its potential.

Another interesting point brought up during the evening was the intent of an artist. Intention plays a major role in how chance is revealed. It’s one thing for an artist to work in solitude and engage in experimentation strictly for oneself. It’s a completely different story and outcome when the artist relinquish control of production and leaves chance up to the viewer thus making them a producer. Essentially, everything produced within an art practice and process still requires calculation and precision. Regarding John Cage’s methods of art and music making, I’m curious how technology eliminates, illuminates, or adds yet another layer or modality of Chance. Even after acts and gestures are performed within an art practice, choice determines an outcome and not necessarily chance. I’m curious, as an artist, a writer, technologist, etc. what do you define as chance operations and how has it played a role in your practice and creative process?

Please log onto ZERO1’s Facebook page, make sure to “Like” us, and post your thoughts on Chance Operations.

Look for the following question and join the discussion, “With advancements in technology, from photography apps to programming language to 3D printing, are Chance Operations necessary in the art making process? Why or why not?”

Originally posted to ZERO1, please view the blog post here

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, networked culture, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently the managing editor for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Public Art Dialogue. She has lectured and spoken at the De Young museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” has been published to The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture in 2016. She serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center, and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Digital Art and New Media department.

4 thoughts on “Chance Operations”

  1. That doesn’t sound facetious at all. Chance Operations was a topic for discussion at the most recent Upgrade! SF meeting. It’s a wonderful gathering of the new media arts community. I think along the same lines as my friend and artist Matt Ganucheau. Some people leave art making and the creative process to some idea of chance, similar to John Cage, BUT Cage definitely had a method. There is precise moment in any action or gesture that may be incorporate chance but it’s not a driving force or actual element. There is choice. Always. Chance is just an element of the overall art process (anything, really).

  2. I just looked up John Cage. ‘Seems he has a profound respect for music.

    (You guys offer some pretty heady stuff–like Mensans of a higher order, and I appreciate it–I honestly think my brain cells will grow more dendrites from each and every discussion!)

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