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One of my favorites artists just had an opening at NYC’s 3LD (Three legged dog)Scott Draves a.k.a. Spot is best known as the creator of the Electric Sheep, a continually evolving abstract animation with over 60,000 daily participants.

Dreams in High Fidelity is a painting that evolves. The artwork was designed and rendered with the Electric Sheep, a cyborg mind composed of 60,000 computers and people mediated by a genetic algorithm. It’s one of the few acceptable uses of “crowd sourcing” I can think of :)

Physically it consists of a small computer driving a large high definition display. The computer creates a continuously morphing, non-repeating, abstract animation. It is not software that you can download, but a custom configured computer preloaded with a large database.

The animations are rendered by the Electric Sheep, but at triple the resolution and with more stately motion. The image quality is striking on a large display. It requires 20x the computation to make a high fidelity sheep, and it shows.

The artist selects his favorite sheep from the archives and public flock, and sends them back to be re-rendered at high fidelity: heaven for an electric sheep. This new flock has grown to 100GB, totaling 18 hours if played end-to-end, and requiring over 200 years to render on a single computer.

A version of Dreams in High Fidelity is at 3LD for the next two weeks – July 11 – July 26, if you’re in the area it’s worth checking out (night time-ish is best).

Scott’s work is “open source” the tools and software can be downloaded by anyone, the “creatures” created are in Creative Commons. Similar to open source hardware Scott makes his living by selling a physical version of the art, an installation, this is one of the reasons it’s most interesting to me and I think a glimpse of what’s to come for digital artists.

Here’s my interview / video with Spot (above). HD version is available on Vimeo and a Quicktime (M4V) is available here.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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