Monday, June 1, 2015

More on Algo

Today, there has been some news about the ephemeral Algo. There is talk that his fractal stories, the little fame it bought him, as all resulted in a cottage industry of sorts. Indeed, word is that he’s even started a factory of story-tellers to make this fractal world possible. He’s (or she’s) run afoul of labor laws and the factory could possibly be on a semi-truck, somehow avoiding laws for now (or I’ve even heard about a boat out in international waters). Since Algo has included Twitter in his world, there's a warrant out for his arrest, having had his own War of Worlds moment on Twitter that sent thousands of stock indices across the world crashing.

But let me focus on the cottage industry that has followed this writer from the moment he exploded with fame, into his fractal world, each story a niche for those who live off it. A commentator mentioned how people are choosing the best linear route through his fractal world. Creating something traditional out of that which is as untraditional as storytelling—a flattening, if you will, of Algo’s 3D world. 

I mentioned earlier an artist who drew nodes and edges and who, in turn, started her own cottage industry (of copycats) though given what we know about creativity in humans the name copycat isn’t exactly right (you know: “good artists copy, great artists steal”). It is copying (with variations) and belonging to a tradition that allows us to create. So it should come as no surprise that at the intersection of these two great artists lies the heart of a new up and coming field.

In this sense a third artist, a Senegalese living in Queens, has come up with amazing new edge node paintings. Ones about Algo’s worlds. At first, before he really painted about Algo, the artist started with realistic depictions of poor-rich disparities in his native country (slums and Mercedes cars, etc) and other places in the 3rd world and finally that 1st world disparity that is Queens and Manhattan. Of course, this didn’t sell. Those with money don’t care for incisive reality (it’s why a lot go for abstraction). Then this Sengalese fan of Algo’s created wooden reliefs of stories in Algo’s world. When this didn’t satisfy his muse, the artist learned about the edge node paintings taking the world by storm and decided to combine that with Algo’s story.

At first the edges were made into highly detailed pantheons to a story, the node being the connection to the next story, the node being the connection to the next story and so forth. These complex paintings did well, and soon were on their way to making the artist famous, but this too was nothing compared to what would come. His later paintings would have nodes painted with stories and the edges as a continuation of that story in a certain direction, and so forth. In other words, the nodes were the text, the edges the next link (in other words, a set scene in a single node then the movement to another set scene via a pantheon like edge).

But even that amazing innovation is not what I’m talking about. The artist didn’t feel satisfied that his paintings were capturing Algo’s world (merely small parts of it) and so the artist started to take the full world and draw it as the node edges it was destined to be.

In addition to showing this world to be more complex than even our own (or all known data points in our world), these paintings, taken at different insertion-into-story points have taken the artist’s entire life.

Now some paintings show us different nodes for the stories or sections that have proven to be the most popular. I had the chance to recently see one work on a 101x101 meter canvas. One is allowed up on something like a window-cleaners scaffold to move and see the entire piece (or step back and see it). Nothing short of astounding, it is. Indeed, it’s an ode to how creations can grow and copy and create. Indeed, it also goes to show that when an artist creates something and releases it on the world, he has a responsibility to make it the absolute best, because once he does, it is free to interact with the world and it will change and change others. Nevertheless, I recommend that everyone go out and check out this artist.

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