Echo Yang explores the current popularity of generative design processes, where computer software iterates endless variations, by turning old school analog devices like tin windup toys, a Walkman, an alarm clock and other machines into instruments of self-generated output.
‘The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and it can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone can open the mind of a man to all that is hidden to others.’ – Inuit shaman Najagneq, recorded by Knud Rasmussen1
‘If you want to build a modular, my advice is not to do it if you want to have any friends, it takes too much time.’ – Jessica Rylan2
Over the past few years, a strong reaction against the sterile world of laptop sound and video has inspired a new interest in analog processes, or “hands dirty” art in the words of practitioner John Richards3. With this renewed analog interest comes a fresh exploration of the pioneers of the electronic arts during the pre-digital era of the 1960s and 1970s. Artists and inventors such as Nam June Paik, Steina & Woody Vasulka, Don Buchla, Serge Tcherepnin, Dan Sandin and David Tudor all constructed their own unique instruments long before similar tools became commercially available or freely downloadable4– often through a long, rigorous process of self-education in electronics.
Text and Image via Vague Terrain