Soft Monkey

Animal painting is popular again; the evidence is on YouTube. But it was popular in the Fifties and Sixties too and taken seriously by some in the art world and certainly by some biologists. Congo, the painting chimpanzee was a star.


The ideology of individualism requires the maintenance of some semblance of interpersonal difference. The horror produced by the idea of cloning, or the imagined forced conformity of communist society, is surely tied to a certain attachment to the idea of difference. At the same time, conformity exerts a strong influence and difference is disciplined away.

see also 0502.2156

A culmination of the work with harmonographs, this piece incorporates a sound track which was constructed using techniques analogous to the curves, and a voice-over which makes links between the abstract forms and social, sexual, and computational concepts. It is the first step in a narrativizing thrust of the work.

Instantiations #7 & #8 (The Animations)

In addition to the superimposition of images, there is a time-based strategy of accumulation of variation in sequence. These two pieces use this technique. They also embed the curve within other systematic relations.


This work explores the possibilities within a single system for creating random highly variable curves based on a harmonograph simulation. The harmonograph was a popular scientific toy of the late 19th century (lately making a comeback in contemporary science museums) which drew complicated Lissajous figures by attaching a pen to a multidimensional pendulum.