While I began this newsletter with the intentions of tracking and discussing the books I've been reading, I also named this newsletter, Farrago, which is defined as "a confused mixture." And that is entirely what this newsletter is; a confused mixture of things I find interesting, because I find a lot of things interesting. If you've signed up, then I'm sure you do too. Every week I'll run across many interesting things like article I find enlightening, a fact that I didn't know, or a viral meme that catches my attention. These are pretty ephemeral. Worth noting and sharing, for sure, but they come and go. But, sometimes, what I find interesting sticks around longer. It lodges in my brain and because of it I'll dive into a topic and I'll stay with it for weeks or even months. I am the kind of person that, if something interests me enough, I become obsessed with it and I focus on little else. A year ago it was drawing with pen and ink. Several years before that it was photography, a hobby I focused on for years. But, over the last 6 months I was a bit lost looking for something new to focus my attention on after my focus on drawing waned following my last move. I mostly spent my time reading fiction; something I spent so much time on that it almost became that kind of interest in itself. I mean it did serve as the initial reason that spawned this newsletter. But that changed recently, all because of this tweet by Fabian Iwand. The tweet contains a short video that begins as a picture of an airplane at altitude being observed while looking up through a canopy of trees, which then devolves into an image that resembles a landscape. It also contains the hashtags,
#generative. And that is the entire tweet, but it was enough. I was fascinated and I wanted to know more.
For my day job, I'm software engineer. Now, I have always avoided interests and hobbies that cut too close to what I do for 8 to 10 hours of everyday. I always felt that doing so was a sure way to burn yourself out, but this was different. While it involved programming, it only did so as a means of constructing art. One of the reasons I don't draw as much anymore is that I wasn't willing to perfect my use of the tools. It wasn't because I wasn't interested in making art. But, this is art using a tool I'm already pretty good at. I was thrilled to find two things I enjoy intersecting like this. This tweet by Danielle Navarro contained four images that, while computer-generated, strongly reminded me of the pen and ink drawings I used to admire when I drew myself. While this involves programming, this was all something completely different than my daily work of writing micro-services, API code, unit tests, etc. I wasn't unaware of the field of computer-generated graphics and animation, but I had never found a need to explore it or use it, but these videos and images I saw on Twitter were compelling. I stared at the piece by Fabian Iwand over and over and down the rabbit hole I went.
Over the last week I've been reading about generative algorithms, looking at glitch art, reading about the work of Georg Nees, and so much more. There is just so much to learn and there really isn't anything better than finding yourself on the cusp of a new journey to explore something fascinating and brand new to yourself. I'm sure I will have more to say in coming issues.