Week 4: Assignment Work

A turn towards materials

Sol Lewitt: Wall Drawing #47

As discussed in the lecture, Lewitt argues that “Conceptual Art” is first and foremost an act of intuition. Just as Lewitt intuited that areas of differing pencil intensity, achieved through cross-hatched lines, would make a visually engaging work, we ask:

What is the best way to use the materials we have specified by our instructions?

Last week we discovered that certain visual patterns may be interesting, but perhaps more importantly, we discovered that the way the drawing is executed has a significant impact on how those patterns come to life.

Pencil lines drawn too softly, work poorly centred on the page, border margins too small, sheet of paper too crumpled. These kinds of executions can inhibit the successful reception of a work. This week, we focus on specifying qualities of execution.

Assignment work

Exercise 1: Analysis.

Review 6 different sets of instructions written by Lewitt. Examine which portion of the instructions define materials and how to use them as opposed to defining visual patterns or orders.

Note your research and present to class.

Exercise 2

Make a list of all the possible materials you might use in your assignment. For example:

  • ink?
  • pencil?
  • paint?
  • torn paper?

Then make a list of all the ways in which these materials might be poorly executed. For example:

  • drawing insufficiently centred
  • folds evident when they should not be there
  • ink pen too light
  • ink pen too heavy
  • pencil lines hairy (sketchy)
  • pencil lines too straight (drawn with ruler when shouldn’t have been)
  • pencil lines too wobbly (should have been drawn with pencil).

These ideas should then be included in your definition of instructions.

Instruction Iteration

Review the instructions you wrote last week, and re-iterate at least twice.

Coding (if time)

Examine the below plotter drawings by Vera Molnar from the series: (Dés)Ordres, 1974.

  • Identify why you think they are visually rewarding piece.
  • what are the representations that they make, what do they remind you of, what do they look like?

Identify how the work was produced:

  • how many shapes are there in each unit?
  • how are they varied?
  • are there many different line thicknesses?

Then … choose one and reproduce it in Processing!

You might start by simply copying the below code,

// draw a window that is 600 x 600 px
// make sure it has a white background

// This is known as a 'nested loop'
// It involves creating a loop within a loop
// The outer loop copies items across to make a row
// the inner loop copies the row down to make a grid
for(int i = 0; i < 600 ; i = i +20){
  for(int j = 0; j < 600 ; j = j +20){
    // Here is a rectangle ...try changeing this line!
    rect(i , j , 18, 18);


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