The art of algorithm

computer algorithm-generated patterns

Frederick creates authentically random patterns through computer algorithms.

Tyson Frederick, ’14 MFA Digital Media Art, employs an early 20th century, Austrian thought-experiment in quantum mechanics to explain how he creates his art. (It’s “Schrödinger’s Cat,” if you’re curious.) As an undergraduate working on a philosophy minor, Frederick developed an interest in the metaphysical and quantum mechanical concepts of existence. One day, an experiment using a computer-simulated Plinko board to test whether or not an observer watching an event can change the outcome of the event through force of will got Frederick seeking a way to create authentically random patterns through computer algorithms. After a programming class at SJSU, he started writing code to create randomly generated patterns that play equally with color, dimension, movement, originality and intention. In a perfect storm of art, philosophy and technology, his art was born.

—Allison Arbuthnot Sanders

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