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Sarah Cascone on Twitter

A Robot Spent 36 Hours Painting This Abstract Masterpiece

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Sarah Cascone on Twitter

Scientists have continued to aid the machines in their plot for world domination by developing ones that can walk, jump, run, fall, dance, and even create original works of art. The latest Rembrandt-robot comes from the team that created Instapainting, a service that allows people to commission human artists online to hand-paint anything from landscapes to animal portraits. For 36 hours, viewers on the live-streaming app Twitch were given the power to control the painting robot with script commands, creating an interesting swirl of colors and some identifiable shapes.

Sarah Cascone on Twitter

"The robot can move around the canvas and raise [and] lift a brush," read the instruction page on Twitch, which also offered specific information about the component values that could be used to control the machine. "What it does is up to you, whether that is painting something or world domination." In a statement to Artnet, Instapainting founder Chris Chen described the robot painting session as an "art project" and shared information about how the experiment went. Despite a few bots that tried to force the machine to paint vulgar imagery, Chen says that the project was "less organized" than previous trials, but it "mostly ran without issues … it was a $250 machine slapped together with quickly written software, so running it for that long was an endurance test."

Artnet reports that the painting will be auctioned off on eBay with proceeds going to charity, though the specific charity has not yet been revealed. Watch a clip of the session below and stay tuned to the Instapainting Blog to see when the next live event is scheduled. 

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Art
Artist Makes Colorful Prints From 1990s VHS Tapes

A collection of old VHS tapes offers endless crafting possibilities. You can use them to make bird houses, shelving units, or, if you’re London-based artist Dieter Ashton, screen prints from the physical tape itself.

As Co.Design reports, the recent London College of Communication graduate was originally intrigued by the art on the cover of old VHS and cassette tapes. He planned to digitally edit them as part of a new art project, but later realized that working with the ribbons of tape inside was much more interesting.

To make a print, Ashton unravels the film from cassettes and VHS tapes collected from his parents' home. He lets the strips fall randomly then presses them into tight, tangled arrangements with the screen. The piece is then brought to life with vibrant patterns and colors.

Ashton has started playing with ways to incorporate themes and motifs from the films he's repurposing into his artwork. If the movie behind one of his creations isn’t immediately obvious, you can always refer to its title. His pieces are named after movies like Backdraft, Under Siege, and that direct-to-video Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Passport to Paris.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Dieter Ashton

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photography
This Is What Flowers Look Like When Photographed With an X-Ray Machine
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Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Peruvian Daffodil” (1938)

Many plant photographers choose to showcase the vibrant colors and physical details of exotic flora. For his work with flowers, Dr. Dain L. Tasker took a more bare-bones approach. The radiologist’s ghostly floral images were recorded using only an X-ray machine, according to Hyperallergic.

Tasker snapped his pictures of botanical life while he was working at Los Angeles’s Wilshire Hospital in the 1930s. He had minimal experience photographing landscapes and portraits in his spare time, but it wasn’t until he saw an X-ray of an amaryllis, taken by a colleague, that he felt inspired to swap his camera for the medical tool. He took black-and-white radiographs of everything from roses and daffodils to eucalypti and holly berries. The otherworldly artwork was featured in magazines and art shows during Tasker’s lifetime.

Selections from Tasker's body of work have been seen around the world, including as part of the Floral Studies exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in San Diego in 2016. Prints of his work are also available for purchase from the Stinehour Wemyss Editions and Howard Greenberg Gallery.

Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)

X-ray image of a rose.
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “A Rose” (1936)

All images courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery.

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