Recode: Feu d’Artifice 1978
We had the great pleasure of inviting Bernard Demiaux for a special Processing Paris Session in which we recoded one of his early works from 1978, Feu d’Artifice (Fireworks). This work was one of the first colour works, programmed in Applesoft Basic with an Apple ][ and with 48k of memory. The main algorithm behind this work remains relatively simple yet remains very much in vain with Bernard Demiaux’s contemporary approach to his artwork.
Feu d’Artifice appeared in PAGE. Computer Arts Society Quarterly January, 1980 with the following description of the algorithm.
First Stage :
In exploring a path, the artist will have new ideas which he may or may not reintroduce as data. He will think of new composition controls which will enable him to quickly put into effect his ideas. He will then be able to decide whether he will keep the results of his testing path. If he is not satisfied, he will pass to the exploitation of another testing path.
At the end of the process/dialogues, he will thus have from his investigations one or two possibilities corresponding to his creative controls defined in the first stage : or modified along the way.
Recode of Feu d’Artifice 1978. Image on left is a translation of the work by Mark Webster. On the right, Bernard Demiaux’s work.
During the session we got together to recode this work using Processing. Time was short but the initial ideas were there and you can find the results or even participate in a retranslation of the work at the address below on GitHub. In both of the examples above, the original colours were respected, which were restricted at that time to white, black, orange and purple. The pinkish colour, not inherent in the program was due to filming. In the recode, we decided to add it. In the version above to the left, I decided to create a firework effect, keeping all the while with the basic algorithm.
In another version written by Louis Eveillard, you can draw shapes directly with the mouse, movement and speed generates different shapes. The drawing is played back as an animated sequence and you can add to this developing more complex compositions. Even if the original work was an autonomous piece, it’s a nice touch in light of Bernard Demiaux’s later works. Especially in the context of his book, ‘Le programme et la main’ (The Program & The Hand) in which he describes his return to gesture and objects as an artist and perhaps in a way rediscovering his fine art background and love of nature.
For all code and documents as well as photos of the evening, please see the following links.
Recode is an original idea and student project initiated by Matthew Epler. He is currently researching and archiving early computer art works at ITP in New York. Please visit the project website and don’t hesitate to get in contact if you think you can help out or would like to organise an event.