Little block machines

I did a spontaneous stealth Little Mint Experiment a couple of days ago so am taking a minute after the fact to briefly describe the work.

Little Block Machines are 12 x blocks and 12 x color themes made in p5js.

The work is an on-chain machine; a system generated at mint in 400 ways. Each machine is made of 12 blocks that are held together by a couple of simple rules, their parts randomised within those constraints. If two blocks stacked vertically are of a similar width, they get a connector. If blocks are wide or narrow they have a light or dark tone. Some of the machines are dense, some sparse, as the gaps between the blocks tighten or loosen and their proportions shuffle.

Each machine scales dynamically, so as the width and height of the viewing window change the connectors and colors and line-weights do too. Stretch the window wide for chunky outlines. Try to almost break its blocky structure. Because it’s a machine not an image, you get an array of visual outcomes / right click saves with each minted nft.

There are 12 color themes, starting with the words (code) and then finding the colors. Soft peachy, mountain moss, dense green, highlighter nux at night.

Just because art is code doesn’t make it interesting. Within the spectrum of generative art - Raw Math / Beautified Math / Math Used / Math Castle - Little Block Machines are in the Math Used camp: they are things for play and a kind of déjà vu of function.

Little Block Machines were minted through a custom front-end platform called Persistence, an independent project built by Neokry who is one of a number of hugely smart and culturally crucial members of the Mathcastles community. Of course the whole project is indebted to Mathcastles and artist 113’s fluid computing art lessons, and their curation of a resilient, loosely-bonded, tightly-aligned community constructed around the catalytic magnet of their groundbreaking Terraforms project. Wrote more here about personal revelations of learning p5js in 113’s school of art.

The minting and transaction of a project is emotionally horrifying, dopamine pump and dump, a necessary hurdle of sharing work in a culture and industry that is fun and fraught, inspiring and overwhelming. I tried to calm this by dropping Little Block Machines completely unplanned, at a time of day when only Australians were at their computers. Will work on these dynamics more in time for Big Block Machines.


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