Night Shoots

Year 2022
Edition Size Edition of 100
Format Custom software (black and white, silent)
File Format JavaScript(p5.js), HTML, CSS
Dimension Dimensions variable, 1:1
Generative, non-interactive

Additional Content “Night Shoots” interactive PDF
Format PDF

Assistant software developer Rodjun
Night Shoots PDF Text Patrícia Oakim
Night Shoots PDF Graphic Design Tony de Marco

Released on 09 October 2022 at Simulation Sketchbook: Works in Process Exhibition at Feral File, curated by Jesse Damiani

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Exhibition Simulation Sketchbook: Works in Process, Vellum LA, Los Angeles, 2022

Exhibition Simulation Sketchbook: Works in Process, Vellum LA, Los Angeles, 2022

‘Monica Rizzolli’s “Night Shoots” portrays generative landscapes and vegetation at night. It evokes the sense of someone checking an infrared camera, waiting for an animal that never appears, instead coming to appreciate the subtle changes of plants and moonlight. This revealing of hidden realities is mirrored in the Rizzolli’s unveiling of process. Following the explosion of NFTs, generative art projects are too often perceived only in their final expressions as single, discrete images. Through the interactive PDF, “Night Shoots” shows the evolution of the paths taken in the creation of a work of this nature, inviting the viewer to observe the paths of Rizzolli’s generative creation. In so doing, she offers a rare view into the creative collaboration between artist and algorithm.

An artist’s creative process tends to trigger our curiosity. Be it a painting, a sculpture or even a song, sometimes we wonder how they were created. Some people think the artistic process is always based on inspiration, as if artists were suddenly taken by an idea in order to create. While every so often this is true, it is not a general rule. Artists experiment. Test. Try out new things. Some keep personal sketchbooks that we will never even have a chance to see. They collect ideas, verses, drawings and so much more. Their creative process is usually a journey that combines building an artistic repertoire and the mastering of a technique.

When we talk about digital arts, we are also talking about software. However software is not usually perceived as an artistic medium, on the contrary, sometimes it is forgotten, even with so many digital artists working with source code, algorithms and programming languages nowadays. These are the artist-programmers. For them, programming languages are like brushes and paint. While programming is commonly considered a linear activity, in which programmers work in a structured way toward a predefined goal, artists-programmers do not usually work like that. They create software in an iterative way: sketching, visualizing the results and then trying again. They explore the possibilities of software without necessarily setting goals. And every now and then, an unexpected result can become a new starting point.

Art made with software raises a debate about automation of art making. It exposes a tension present in the creative relationship between human and machine. While part of the process is defined by the artist, another part is independently executed by the computer. In generative art,   where parts of the decisions are delegated to the software, it is exactly this relationship between artist and machine that produces art. The artist-programmer creates the concepts and rules so the software can create the art piece.

I like to think about digital art software as a technique that is part of our time and society. When acrylic paint was invented in the 20th century, it did not replace oil paint. It even requires a slightly distinct expertise. You can create a painting using either, nonetheless the ways an artist works with each medium and the aesthetic results are different. This is also true to software and digital techniques, with programming languages rendering different results. While the intrinsic possibilities of software are limited to the computational technology available in our society at a given time, the creativity on how to use it belongs to the artists. They choose what will happen, if they will delegate part of the production to the computer, if a random function will point to an unexpected new path or if they want to use an artificial intelligence to produce an image.

Monica Rizzolli is a contemporary artist that challenges our notion about the creative process. She moves through different worlds, combining them in her work to create artistic power. She brings together art and technology, being proficient in both visual arts and digital techniques like software programming or NFT minting. But she goes further, and in her work we can see that in a vigorous way: she breaks down the barriers between digital and analog art. She is an artist-programmer who started her path painting and drawing. And she still does both. Her sketchbooks are on paper and in software. Her drawings are made with ink and apple pencil. Sometimes, she chooses paper to experiment with a visual repetition form. Other times, she uses programming to try out the possibilities of generative art and to delegate some decisions to the computer. While using these different techniques, Monica undergoes an individual creative journey of attempts and mistakes, of choosing and discarding, to finally, at the end, present us with her art.

Nevertheless, in this work-of-art-book, we have the possibility to participate in her creative process. Monica invites us to enter and to go through the different possible paths in the creation of an art piece. You, the reader, will have the opportunity to not only witness, but to be a protagonist with her in the making of generative art. On the pages in this book, you will find sequences of images and will have the option to, at certain points, choose how you want to proceed. In an interactive PDF format, you will experiment the artistic process in real time and your choices will generate different visual arts results. In this book, you, the reader, along with Monica and her software, will also be the artist.

Patricia Oakim is an artist and researcher of art and technology. Author of the book Art made with code (published in Brazil), she holds a Master’s degree from NYU and from PUC-SP.
Some images of the development process