Generative Study 1 Final


Other than using magnets to create spontaneous movements, natural materials were chosen as inspired by Fujimoto Yukio’s work. These include seashells, wood, and corals.


While playing with the different materials and listening to their sound, I noticed some materials make higher pitched sounds and some lower. With this, I decided to make the chimes have 3 differently pitched tones, classifying them according to their tone range.

Soprano – higher tone range

Alto – medium tone range

Bass – Lower tone range

Final Outcome of Magnet Chimes

Magnet Chimes is a work that aims to change the way we experience sounds from nature. The individual pieces come together to create spontaneous and random sounds. The sounds generated are derived from the movement of the magnets in the structure that attract and repel each other, as well as from the magnet held by the user.


Setting up the height of the magnet, and the distance from each other was one of the tougher parts of this challenge. An equilibrium needed to be established to ensure the magnets are not too near or too far from each other. Another challenge was getting the sounds generated to be random. Because the movement is caused the the magnets held by the viewer, the sounds tend to be cluttered together and do not sound entirely random.

Moving Forward

The initial idea for this project was to create chimes that would interact only with each other via magnets to create sounds. However, while working on this project, I realised that establishing a system that would work was challenging and due to time constraints, the system changed to one that required the viewer to hold a magnet and play the magnet chimes. As mentioned by Dejan, a way to move forward with this project would be to experiment with electromagnets, which creates an entirely different system on how the sound may be generated. This could also allow the the chimes to work independently without needing a user to hold a magnet to interact with the chimes.

Reading Assignment 2

Amplifying the Uncanny explores the boundaries of what makes a generated image fake but reversing the generative process and to exaggerate the imitated features of Deepfakes. By producing these unreal images through manipulating the generator, the divide between natural and man-made is clearly evident, proving the vulnerabilities of a mechanical system no matter how

The uncanny is a psychological or aesthetic experience that can be characterised as observing something familiar that is encountered in an unsettling way. In art, feelings of the uncanny are often evoked to explore boundaries between what is living and what is machine. According to Sigmund Freud, the uncanny is the instance when something is familiar yet alien at the same time. The concept is that it is unknown yet also brings out something hidden or repressed. Freud suggests that the unsettling phenomenon occurs in relation to what is known of old and long familiar.

The uncanny valley by Masahiro Mori depicts the relationship between affinity/ familiarity to human likeness for still and animated objects. The graph explains that familiarity increase as human likeness increase, however when the human likeness increase to a certain point our familiarity with the object decreases drastically as the uncanniness evokes a sense of eeriness. This study of the human likeness of an object and our familiarity or affinity with it is crutial to study as it could inform us better on how to make object more human like yet familiar, especially in the field of prosthetics where achieving human likeness and affinity would help the user profoundly with their daily lives. 

The tendency to imitate nature has long been a concern in art, with certain sculptors and painters earning recognition purely for the ability to create lifelike artworks that viewers marvel at. Art forms like bonsai and ikebana also take a natural object directly and render them with the human hand to create something that is nature like, but not natural. Perhaps what makes the GAN framework create unsettling images is because the algorithm may be created by humans, however the generation is completely mechanical and robotic, a pattern too perfect that it could not be natural, that makes this form of imitating nature an eerie experience as compared to non mechanical art forms.

Project 1 Generative Study Process

This generative study aims to using magnets to manipulate natural objects to create spontaneous and random sounds

The first trial was done using corals. The magnets were initially hanging side by side however the attraction was too strong which did not cause movement, and I had to move the hold the magnet instead to manipulate the hanging magnet.

Second structure using an acrylic rod and wood.

The current trials were constructed individually, and from here on I will experiment with joining the structures together, as using other objects like stone and charcoal.

Exploratory Project 1

Reinventing the way wind chimes interact with nature using magnets

Wind chimes are a type of percussion instrument that created sound when they catch the wind. In East Asian culture, they are said to frighten away birds and lurking evil spirits. Wind chimes create sound in a chance based manner.

Project concept: reinvent wind chimes by creating a series of wind chimes made from different natural materials (wood, sea shells, stone etc) and make the individual wind chime structure interact with one another using magnetic forces. The resulting sound should be generated randomly according to the magnetic force.

Reading Assignment 1

Marcus Watz describes generative art as using systems as the computational mode of creativity, thus relying on chance and logic to create a work. It does not constitute an art movement as generative art describes a common strategy for how works are produced through methodology.  Unlike interactive art which exploits the feedback loop of interaction between the system and user, generative art focuses on closed systems and self constructs investigated for their formal and material qualities. This aspect makes generative art more closely related to traditions of drawing and painting than to the relational aesthetics of media art. Inspiration is often drawn from nature as it is myriad of systems beyond human control, and we synthesise these systems and behaviours through computers. Generative art thus typically involves organic and mechanical forms.

Despite generative art being a seemingly new concept due to its computerised tendencies, its core concept of studying and synthesising rules and systems is the very basis of human culture. Fujimoto Yukio, an artist that plays with sound objects in his artworks, states that the mind tends to connect unrelated pieces together to make meaning out of them. This is evident in astrology where celestial objects are studied in relative positions to relate human affairs with terrestrial events.  Humans invented constellations to make meaning out of random stars. The ability to compose music is also done through this method of connecting unrelated and random notes to each other to create a piece, as the human brain feels the need to make these connections and make sense of them. The patterns that our brain synthesise differ from person to person, perhaps making our brain the most fundamental generator.

It is interesting to note that though computer functions are often utilised in generative art, that it is still susceptible to human error and bias. Since computers and machines are made by humans, perhaps even computerised functions can be considered organic.