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.

.

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.

.

A hidden grid is made partly visible
by randomly generated connecting

lines and textured Bezier Curves
arc around the chosen points.

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.

.

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**