Scott Draves
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Scott Draves
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 Biography

Scott Draves a.k.a. Spot is a visualist and programmer residing in San Francisco. He is the creator of the Fractal Flame algorithm, the Bomb visual-musical instrument, and the Electric Sheep distributed screen-saver. All of Draves' software artworks are released as open source and distributed for free on the internet. His award-winning work has appeared in Wired Magazine, the Prix Ars Electronica, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, and on the dance-floor at the Sonar festival in Barcelona. In 1997 Spot received a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University for a thesis on metaprogramming for media processing. He projects live video for underground parties and at clubs, andself-publishes SPOTWORKS, a DVD of abstract animation synchronized with electronic music. His current project is Dreams in High Fidelity, a painting that evolves .Scott uses mathematics and evolution to distill beauty from the collective intelligence of the internet. His artwork is based on the philosophy of science and open source software.

 Harmony Channel Interview

 What are some of your visual influences in Spotworks, and how does the interplay of images relate to the Harmony Channel's "Play Zone" and your own personal sense of play?

 Spot: Spotworks has two distinct styles: Electric Sheep and dub visuals. The dub visuals in Kunstformen der Natur were made from 100 year old scientific drawings by Ernst Haeckel. They are organic and otherworldly, natural and hyperreal. Though they were supposedly all undersea creatures draw as seen in a microscope, in fact Haeckel "improved" on nature as he recorded it. They were the basis for his fractal theory of evolution, which he summarized by saying "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". I wanted to translate his still etchings into video form, and to do so in a way that demonstrated the continuity of life, by smoothly morphing between species, and treating the pages of Haeckel's Kunstformen as a visual language. Watching it, we go on a journey, zooming into nanospace, a visit to the far side of the singularity.

The Electric Sheep are made with a cyborg mind composed of 30,000 computers and people. The visuals are a product of this collective consciousness. They were not drawn, but invoked by writing code. Each image, or sheep, has a genetic code that defines its shape, motion, and color. The global audience votes on which sheep they like, and the most popular ones live longer and reproduce. Hence, in this virtual world of abstract animations, we have aesthetic evolution. Anyone can join in and participate in the android dream by downloading the screen-saver from Electric Sheep.



 


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