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Mandala Cruft (Occam's razor)

This cruft algorithm extracts an image from the CNN home page once every eight hours. The image is then transformed into a mandala, with the addition of the original source image and caption. CNN presents a constant stream of images of violence, potential terrorism, and the imminent hurricane or earthquake, as well as the daily dose of political polarization.

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Mandala

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maṇḍala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the shape of a T.
. . .
In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective.
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala]

Occam's Razor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The principle is often summarized as "simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones." In practice, the principle is usually focused on shifting the burden of proof in discussions. That is, the razor is a principle that suggests we should tend towards simpler theories until we can trade some simplicity for increased explanatory power. Contrary to the popular summary, the simplest available theory is sometimes a less accurate explanation. Philosophers also add that the exact meaning of simplest can be nuanced in the first place.
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor]

CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers

My art practice explores the Internet as source material to be appropriated, taken apart, juxtaposed, and recycled by writing computer code that is automated and runs on a 24/7 schedule producing a form of auto-generated collage I call Cruft. The resulting digital artwork allows me to investigate broader issues of traditional concepts—such as originality, creativity, authorship and eternal value. This work examines the relentless flow of information on the Internet that quickly becomes digital leftovers to reveal a relationship in which we don't simply consume media, but are also consumed by it.

In response to the intense pace and constant change happening online, my art practice also includes a slower and thoughtful method of applying traditional media such as charcoal, paint, wax and ink, to prints of selected Cruft images. These mixed-media images are created over longer periods of time resulting in a meditative process that subverts the goals of speed, spectacle and distraction, offering an opportunity for slower looking and deeper thinking compared to the crushing overload of an endless stream of automated Cruft.

The Internet has the ability to provide freedom by connecting us at great distances, democratizing the world's knowledge, and facilitating disruption and resistance to systems of power. It can also simultaneously provide control by restricting and regulating our thoughts and actions while propagating fear, divisiveness, surveillance and repression. My artwork delves into the very nature of the Internet, pulling at it’s strengths and exposing the flaws, producing what has been coined Post-Internet art, that by definition references the "network" that we all inhabit, and ultimately, it's effects on our society and culture.

My art is a personal inquiry into fundamental questions about our values, ideas, fears and dreams. I am interested in how the humanities and technology shape our individuality and communities, and how the arts and humanities can inspire us to ask who we are and what our lives might mean.

Robert Spahr
Carbondale, IL
September 2019

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