Trevor Batten:
     Some Notes on the Works in the BASIC SYSTEMS Series:

  I.    The Concept:

       After a period of producing static images using a plotter coupled
       to a PDP-15 computer, the Amiga offered the opportunity to develop
       real-time moving images.

       The earlier work had been concerned with translation and the
       ontological implications of language and so the idea of taking the
       basic graphic commands of Amiga Basic as primitive concepts to
       explore the new universe of moving images seemed completely logical.

       The commands define worlds: A world of dots, a world of lines,
       a world of arcs and circles and so on....

       The first task is to explore these silent worlds in terms of aesthetic
       categories such as chaos/order, rough/smooth, expectation/surprise etc..

       Initially (in the BASIC SYSTEMS series) random data are used to
       control simple image generating processes.

       The images are therefore experiments with structured randomness where
       the graphic primitives provide the basis for the structuring. The
       use of random data implies that the source of the data is not important
       and opens the possibility for later experiments with data generating
       processes. Perhaps the images can be analyzed, and become themselves
       a source of data.

       Eventually it may be possible to define primitive procedures and to
       integrate them in a basic system capable of bootstrapping itself to
       further complexity through dialogues between the worlds. Even if this
       fails, the process should be capable of bootstrapping the artist.

       In the meantime (hopefully) anything may be possible...

 II.    The Works:

  "LINE"    1987


       Randomly generated points are connected to form a random walk. The
       textures of the connecting lines are generated by a mathematical
       function based on the x,y position within the connecting line and
       the thickness of the line.

   "CIRCLE"  1987


       Random variation in the begin and end angles of a circle segment
       generate abstract forms.

   "FILL"    1987


       The "paint" function of AmigaBasic is used to randomly fill either
       the inside or the outside of a circle segment with colour.

    "POINTS"  1988


       A set of linked mathematical functions based on a number of flies
       chasing after each other generate a set of moving points which are
       connected by textured lines.

"CURVE"   1988


       A hidden grid is made partly visible by randomly generated connecting
       lines and textured Bezier Curves arc around the chosen points.

 "SCAN"    1989

       The history of a one dimensional cell automat is shown mirrored in
       two-dimensions. The transformation rule is modified every cycle.

    "WEAVE"   1989


       Is essentially a cell automat except for the fact that there is no
       internal memory and the automat processes directly the video image.
       The situation is also made slightly more complicated by representing
       the processed information by rotated line segments.

"FOLD"   1990


       The same cell automat is again used for image processing. This time
       the read and write scans have become independent, sometimes even
       horizontally reading and diagonally writing -so the space becomes
       folded. Arbitrary variations in the processing rule generate the
       variations required to process the image.

                                                     Trevor Batten
                                                Amsterdam, March 1998