Poem for a Bad President – 2018
Duration – infinite
Exhibition – lightbox or projection
Soundtrack – silent
This generative (software, or data-based) artwork has no beginning, middle or end, and therefore no fixed duration. It’s made up of continually shifting patterns in both space and time, therefore challenging one of art’s largest yet most ignored dichotomies: between motif and montage.
A common assumption from its title would be that it refers to a specific U.S. president. But it also refers to the long history of bad presidents from around the world, and this long pattern of bad (mostly) men is reflected in this work’s minimalist repetition + variation. Black, its dominant colour, has an essential duality. It’s often associated with deep sadness, but can also be filled with beauty, as in a requiem. With a close viewing and ‘listening’ to the work’s rhythmic structures, it transforms into something akin to an alternative percussion instrument, a prepared piano for example.
Poem for a Bad President was created using black 16mm film leader loops (converted to GIFs/APNGs), which ‘play’ in a composition conducted by chance procedure algorithms. Due to minute variations its ‘visual beats’ remain fresh for the viewer.
Due to the central role of its rhythms, this is a silent artwork that is ‘heard’ as much as it’s seen. As in ecology’s ‘edge effects’ (where new structures occur at the boundary of two or more habitats) this is a work that draws from numerous territories: from the history of the ‘large painting’ – its size taking place in both time and space; from music – especially 20th century composers who’ve employed chance; from cinema – especially Structural Film and protocinema; and from gaming – see: pseudo-random distribution (it can never be seen the same way twice).