Tree Rings


My instructions create a scenario in which the participant must defer bodily control to a process. I put particular emphasis on eye movements and blinking. In the context of Tree Rings, the participant’s line of sight and blinking speed are signals that control point position and point generation respectively. Ideally, the piece fosters a sense of closing in as the “bounded region” approaches a single point.


This result revealed a serious hole in the logic of my instructions. Namely, that it’s possible to stare at any fixed point to satisfy the end condition. In the above case, the participant stared at some fixed point after only one iteration.

drawing2high drawing3high


These last two examples illustrate the ambiguity (delicious, I hope) of the instruction “connect each point.” One participant opted to connect the points with curvilinear lines, resulting in flowing, topographic contours, while the other connected the points with straight lines, resulting in more jagged contours.

I made an effort to avoid instructions that would generate arbitrary doodles. However, there are aspects of the drawings that are arbitrary, just as there are aspects that resemble doodles. I don’t think that these qualities are bad in themselves. In fact, it seems like the most interesting processes anticipate and account for randomness and choice.


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