I had to do a project involving or simulating randomness for Constructing Generative Systems. This was actually a difficult assignment for me because I had trouble getting past the mathematical definition of random. Everything I thought of just did not seem random enough.

At first I wanted to replicate some physics research that I did while in college, because there was a random aspect to it. I spent one summer working in a complex fluids lab mixing up solutions with different concentrations of polystyrene spheres and rod-shaped viruses. Each of them started in a separate solution, and then I would put them together and mix it well enough to create a single, randomly distributed solution. Then I had to chart how long it took for the samples to separate back out into their individual components. I was going to simulate this experiment by mixing up different beads in jars, but there was something unsatisfying about it. It would very much be a performance piece, and would leave very little to look at in the end.

I then decided that I wanted to suspend the beads in a more exciting material. After a trip to Canal Plastics, I settled on purple vinyl sheeting. After I got my vinyl, I went to Pearl Paint to get beads. But then I saw confetti. And I thought, “it starts out in a bag, and then you throw it around and it lands in unpredictable places.” I also grabbed tiny beads, and colorful feathers–seemingly “random” materials.

When I got back to ITP, I laid down the purple vinyl and proceeded to frolic back and forth, “randomly” scattering the confetti, beads, and feathers across it. I folded and sealed it with an iron. This was the result (still something of a performance piece):