Carl Lostritto

Associate Professor of Architecture and Graduate Program Director
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, Rhode Island, USA

I’m interested in the “architectures” of computationally-produced drawing insofar as they force a distinction between the “illustrative” nature of a drawing from that which it illustrates and the “representational” quality of a drawing from any input being represented. An overarching theme in much of this work is the tension between object and field. Because I write my drawings in Python, (by designing custom behaviors, constructs, and models, and by directly controlling a pen plotter) my process is inherently object-oriented. However, in the territory of the drawing (as opposed to the digital image), where material ink lives on a paper substrate, field conditions dominate. This tension necessitates discourse on process and aesthetics.

Lattice Diffusion Frozen into Volumetric Form
76 x 56 cm
Drawing by computer-controlled pen plotter

This drawing is part of a large body of work that uses techniques normally associated with mathematical modeling of natural phenomena, but instead applies them to the drawings, each of which is treated as a “world.” This drawing uses a lattice gas algorithm published by Neil Gershenfeld in his book, “The Nature of Mathematical Modeling,” that is designed to simulate diffusion without computation of individual particles. The extremely efficient algorithm relies on bit shifting to approximate the propagation of states at each vertex in a lattice. This drawing extends the lattice structure into three dimensions and converts the six-bit state at each vertex into marks on paper.