Switching from paint to C and BASIC on the Amiga
March 7, 2018 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Samia Halaby, Commodore Amiga artist found her preferred medium later in life and uses it to create "kinetic paintings".
posted by Jpfed (8 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
A program is like a city, a function is like a factory or a home. You put stuff in it on one end and then they come out on the other, you know, all formed. How the program moves from one part to the other, the logic of it, was very nice, and to me that was part of the creative process.
This is great, and the usefulness of programmable systems in generating visual art is something I've been inefficiently trying to use far less effectively than Samia.
posted by figurant at 8:45 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]

I like the similarities between her digital work and traditional paintings. It makes the paintings feel like a freeze frame of an ongoing process.

Re. the computer hardware being a part of the art. Uncompressed high-res video files are so huge that they are totally impractical to stream or even download more than a few minutes' worth. Computer generated art often has sharp edges and high frequency details that do not compress well. So to experience generative works, you really need to watch the code execute on a real machine. And a lot of the time, that code fits in a few kilobytes. I like this. The old hardware with analog monitor makes it even more distinct.
posted by scose at 9:27 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Utterly charming.

I love her work and I love the fact that she dove in to code the work herself.

I immediately compared her work with Rafaƫl Rozendaal's work (which I also love). Rozendaal works in the tradition of Conceptual Art, therefore working with a programmer for his websites and service bureaus for his tapestries and things. I think that's perfectly legit, and I'm not criticizing that approach. But she's developed this intimacy with the material and medium that's very different from art-directing it from a distance.
posted by device55 at 10:09 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

I love that she has such an intimate relationship with the code she writes and the machine she weilds. There is something really magical about a craftswoman using a piece of technology like this to create art.

It's really interesting that she chose not to upgrade. Especially interesting that she did not jump ship when Commodore sunk. I my guess is she had put a lot of effort into her AmigaBASIC works and if she upgraded to the 2.0 is or higher, she would have lost her work. If I recall correctly, AmigaBASIC was discontinued at 2.0.

I'm glad she is getting recognition now. I didn't hear about her 'back in the day'.
posted by jonnay at 5:56 AM on March 8

I never had an Amiga, but I liked to do a little of that on the C64 with a Logo offshoot, and even more so with QBasic on x86 machines 30 years ago.
Not claiming to be artistic, but more in the manner of screensavers of the era and representations of dynamic systems.
I especially like the pieces at the beginning and the end that she didn't talk about that look like moving versions of her large paintings.

I agree with her that I would like to be able to do that as easily on a modern machine. QBasic only went up to 300x200, I think, when you had decent color selection, and doesn't run on 64-bit machines.
I miss having simple BASIC-like programs that come free with the OS.
posted by MtDewd at 6:18 AM on March 8

QBasic only went up to 300x200, I think, when you had decent color selection, and doesn't run on 64-bit machines.

You may be interested in QB64 (free, compatible with old QuickBasic programs, and runs on 64-bit machines), which I just introduced my son to. It's got the legacy screen modes you mention, but it also has the capability to work at modern resolutions and color depths.

(Also, Google for some reason gives juice to qb64.net, but that is down; you want qb64.org).
posted by Jpfed at 7:56 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

Her art.net page (Copyright 1998).
posted by Jpfed at 8:22 AM on March 8

Anyone interested in computer/interactive art might want to check out Processing, there is an excellent gallery of in-browser examples available at OpenProcessing.org
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 12:53 PM on March 8

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