Verse Meets: Lars Wander

"I think there's a lot to be explored using a computer to push the creative boundaries in ways that you can't when you're not working with fantastical machines. So as much as possible, I try to bring the computer and the machinery to the forefront.

My name is Lars wander. For work, I write visualization software at Google. And that night, I make generative art.

The first time I made an artwork was right at the start of the Shelter in Place period, during the pandemic, I had seen these plotters, these strong machines and action on a Reddit post. And I was really fascinated by their precision, and I guess just how wonderful it was to watch them. So I ordered one and with all the time that I had at home, I quickly fell in love with using it to sort of explore patterns and or ideas visually.

When I go about making a piece, I leaned very heavily on the fact that I can visualize what the output looks like or what the pen plotter will do before it's created. But something that's really magical about the pen plotter is that the pen plotter imbues physicality on the piece that you really don't get on the computer screen. And in fact, one of the pieces here in this exhibition titled This is Not a Test was ironically one of the many tests that I did, trying to understand how watercolors would mix and how I could use the pen plotter to try and autonomously and automatically mix colors for me. And what's so interesting to see to me when I look at the piece is that despite the fact that I didn't get the range of colors that I expected, the piece was somehow immediately beautiful to me. And I think that's one of the wonderful things about the medium that you are always working and experimenting either and writing code and being surprised at the outcome of the code or running the plotter and seeing how it lays ink on the page. And being surprised at how it does that there's always a range of outcomes. And you can never really expect the result until you finally plot the piece.

This piece is titled false sense of repetition. It has hidden underlying rule that's obfuscated by the fact that it never actually fully repeats. Despite how far you draw this picture, if you look closely, you'll see that there's three shapes that are repeated over and over again, they follow this rule where every time there's a shape that has a sharp corner or a bend in it, it's pointing towards two more identical shapes, and they form a little trio, every single shape that's drawn here is always drawn with that rule in mind. As a result, you get an underlying pattern that drives the placement of the shapes, but doesn't actually ever force repetition across the plane.

There's clearly a very wide range of possibilities that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of there's so much wonderful artwork being created by a wonderful range of artists today that I think we're sort of collectively trying to see what you can really do and how you can push the frontier of this new medium.

What I want my audience to take away from my work is the sense of the magic that the computer can provide us with the computing machines in our pockets and on our desks are becoming more and more ubiquitous, but they also become more and more mysterious as they become a regular part of our everyday lives. And I think it's easy to forget just how absurdly powerful they are have unbelievably intricate and expressive they can be using artwork as a visual medium is a wonderful way to explore that."

Lars Wander

Lars Wander is a computer artist, born in Germany, and living in NYC. His visual artwork follows his interests in perception, generative patterns, and computational systems. He’s been writing programs to explore complexity for well over a decade, and began publishing his generative artwork in 2020. During the day, Lars works at Google writing visualization software to understand the dynamics of...
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