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Macs as artist: The interactive robotic painting machine


Artist and composer Ben Grosser sent us a tip about his latest project, an interactive robotic painting machine. The machine has three computers that run python code written by Grosser, two of those being computers for those who "Think Different" -- a Mac Pro and a MacBook Pro.

The process is fascinating to watch and hear, as the machine "listens" to outside sounds as input into what it should paint and creates its own body of work. Grosser noted that he's been critiquing the machine as it paints, giving it audio input as it makes brush strokes indicating whether or not he likes what it's done. He mentioned that he's "found that I tend to dislike these paintings more than others it makes, suggesting that listening to a constant critique of one's creative process may not be productive."

A video of Head Swap: Collaborative Work for Amplified Violin and Interactive Robotic Painting Machine (2011) is shown below. In this video, the machine listens to music composed by Zach Browning and played by violinist Benjamin Sung. Part of what you hear is actually the machine as it goes through its motions, creating its own counterpoint chords as it paints. The art created by the machine may not appeal to everyone, but it's a captivating and Apple-powered work that can produce striking and somewhat beautiful paintings ... and music.

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