Ellen Scott: Harmonic

  • ©,

  • ©,





Creation Year:



    Mixed media, series of three


    40 in x 6 in (horizontal) or 12 in x 20 in (vertical)



Artist Statement:

    These mixed-media prints are derived from an interactive animation titled “Harmonic.” Conceptually, the project is an expression of harmony among humans, nature, and technology, and an argument for the power of computer-based art to engage and inspire through its behavioral life in addition to its audiovisual aesthetic.

    The prints represent a merging of the digital and physical worlds in a process that integrates the computer as both tool and collaborator. Birds are drawn by hand, then digitally scanned and programmed to come alive with flocking behaviors based on Craig Reynolds’ Boids. As users interact with Harmonic, they make music and guide the flocks through space; background color changes with each touch.

    Each image is derived from a flock in motion – a truly unique moment in time. Screenshots of the interactive animation in progress are captured digitally, printed on transparent film, mounted on plexiglas, and finished by hand. While the creative process starts (drawing birds) and ends (sanding surfaces) directly with the hand, it comes alive in the computer.

    Aesthetic imagery is designed for simplicity, with an eye toward integrating the respective strengths of digital and physical media. These prints intentionally avoid the distraction of hyper-reality by offering a simple, semi-abstract, organic look and feel.

    Finally, these prints directly address the question of the original in digital art. Is the original the idea? Is it the code? Is it the hand-drawn bird or the finished mixed-media piece? Each print is a single moment in interactive experience in progress. Randomness implicit in the behavioral code combined with variances in human behavior dictate that each screenshot is, essentially, unique. Finally, variations in the hand-finishing process yield a different piece each time.

    The computer has much to offer art, beyond the realignment of existing material. At the core of this potential is an exploration of the fundamental forms and patterns replicated across organic entities of all kinds. Furthermore, these representations are most powerful when they move beyond the screen with a sense of space, dimension, and physicality.

    The elusive horizon between the physical universe and the digital universe promises something sublime, whether you call it art, science, or entertainment. Harmonic is a simple gesture toward that promise.

Affiliation Where Artwork Was Created:

    Pratt Institute