Generative Art Example: Smoke Water Fire 2016


Smoke Water Fire (2016)

by Mark J. Stock

Smoke Water Fire is a digital video that represents a virtual simulation of fluid flow. This piece can also be viewed in VR. It is rendered in 360-3D format, and rendered using Radiance,  synthetic lighting simulation software. This artwork highlights the dynamics of fluid flow and its universality. With no name plastered on the visual simulation and its changes, it gives us freedom to decide how we perceive fluid flow in this virtual simulation. The conventional perception is stripped, and we are given the autonomy to understand how fluidity actually works- through dynamic, ever-changing flow.

This artwork is interesting to me because it plays around with the perception of depth, as well as generative and degenerative elements in its digital simulation. It is a generative piece because we cannot really predict where the next change of motion of the “fluid” will take place at. Simply by subtracting or adding elements to its code, a fairly accurate depiction of fluid flow can be created and I think this is pretty cool. Just because we are dealing with numbers and code does not mean that we cannot create an actual visual representation of something very real and natural to us. Additionally, I think that it is interesting that that is an irony that an accurate depiction of something so natural is done using something so calculated (albeit random).

I feel that it relates to my own creative interests because I am someone who likes to deal with surprises and unpredictability when it comes to creation. I also like telling stories. I know they contradict each other because stories usually follow a linear storyline whereas unpredictability does not exactly fall into that line of thought. However, having an unpredictable motion that gels a whole story together in the most unexpected but pleasant way is something I like to work with, which I also feel is present in this work. In a way, this art work can be depicted as the story of fluid; where it tells us the journey of how a fluid develops and moves through its existence.