Generative

Time between the lines is thread through the mind

Time Between the Lines is Thread Through the Mind is a meditative plotter-performance artwork, where each experience is uniquely recorded using specific pens on dark or light paper.

Time Between the Lines is Thread Through the Mind #0

(live render for plotting – “skeuomorphic” disabled)

Inspiration and Creation

 

“Time Between the Lines is Thread Through the Mind,” (AKA “Thread”) is the fourth project in the Zenerative series, a collection of Zen-inspired generative art projects. “Thread” explores the value of time and the interplay between efficiency, order, and aesthetics.

At the heart of the project lies a meditative exploration of time and the choices that punctuate our existence. Modern society constantly challenges us with choices where efficiency, order, and aesthetics clash, forcing us to prioritize one over the others. ‘Thread’ visualizes this, presenting it not just as a conceptual idea but as a lived, visual experience. Through its unique canonical outputs, the project invites viewers to witness how different optimization settings (drawing order) alter the artwork’s appearance, echoing the outcomes from varied choices in life.

This plotter-performance art transcends the conventional, offering a multi-layered experience. While the digital renderings provide immediate visual gratification, the physical plotting process adds a layer of temporal depth. Watching the plotter at work is to witness the gradual unfolding of art in real-time, a process that echoes the slow, deliberate nature of mindful choices. It’s an invitation to pause, reflect, and appreciate the beauty and complexity inherent in every moment, and to be aware of the choices that brought it about.

“Thread” encourages viewer interaction through the use of URL parameters, each leading to a distinct visual narrative. This interactivity is not just a feature but a metaphor for the impact of our choices on our perception and experience of life.

Continuing the journey started by earlier projects in the Zenerative series, “Thread” breaks new ground, using time and choice as tools in a performance piece. It invites you to wonder – what are the tradeoffs of your own daily choices between aesthetics, order, and efficiency? Which might you prioritize more, tomorrow?

“Time Between the Lines is Thread Through the Mind” is not just a visual artwork, but a conversation about time, choice, and the beauty of the present moment, inviting you to join in a contemplative and transformative exploration.

The Generative Program

 

This project utilizes vanilla JavaScript to create the artwork. Each generated image uses values from a unique transaction hash provided by the platform (plottables.io powered by artblocks.io) to determine the characteristics of each token with the goal of creating a simple yet serendipitous artwork.

The source code is on-chain, on mainnet Ethereum. It’s nearly 500 lines long and 16.8 Kilobytes of data, which took 0.058 Eth in gas to deploy (don’t worry, I offset the environmental impact). Each NFT image can be rendered directly in the browser, utilizing only standardized JavaScript. The token artworks are fully deterministic and resolution-agnostic.

The Color Palettes

 

The colors used in this project were sampled directly from easily accessible art markers and pens: Stabilo 68s and Gelly Rolls. Stabilos markers are pared with “Light” paper/traits, while Gelly Rolls are paired with “Dark” paper/traits. All Stabilos used in the project can currently be found in the “Arty” Stabilo 68 set of 30 markers, sold in a metal tin. Gelly Rolls are typically sold in smaller sets, so there isn’t an available set that includes all colors used in the project. In both cases, it’s easiest to buy the required individual pens for a plot from pen supply stores. One set of pens/markers should definitely be able to plot the optimization sweep of any token without running out of color.

The sampled hex value is used in the generative script, hopefully enabling plots to be faithfully represent the colors and shades in the canonical digital outputs. Suggest pens and their colors are written to console when running the live code, and the pen colors and hex values are stored in the generated SVG itself. 

Stabilo 68 markers:
  • hex: #83553b, name: Brown, id: 45
  • hex: #d74143, name: Dark Red, id: 50
  • hex: #f75c45, name: Carmine, id: 48
  • hex: #ff8b15, name: Pale Vermillion, id: 30
  • hex: #ffb814, name: Orange, id: 54
  • hex: #ffd913, name: Yellow, id: 44
  • hex: #fff248, name: Lemon Yellow, id: 24
  • hex: #b7c800, name: Light Green, id: 33
  • hex: #4c8b06, name: Leaf Green, id: 43
  • hex: #1c6a27, name: Green, id: 36
  • hex: #3d47b3, name: Ultramarine, id: 32
  • hex: #3074e5, name: Dark Blue, id: 41
  • hex: #3093f8, name: Light Blue, id: 31
  • hex: #58b6ff, name: Azure, id: 57
  • hex: #c9c4c4, name: Light Cold Gray, id: 94
  • hex: #a59da5, name: Medium Cold Gray, id: 95
  • hex: #665e61, name: Dark Gray, id: 96
  • hex: #2d2828, name: Black, id: 46
Gelly Roll pens (standard):
  • hex: #E9E9E9, name: Platinum, id: 50
  • hex: #85CFF5, name: Pale Azure, id: 425
  • hex: #7696DC, name: Vista Blue, id: 437p
  • hex: #2A6CD0, name: Celtic Blue, id: 438
  • hex: #109EE0, name: Celestial Blue, id: 436
  • hex: #97DCD6, name: Tiffany Blue, id: 426p
  • hex: #28DBD5, name: Turquoise, id: 429
  • hex: #85D18A, name: Emerald, id: 428
  • hex: #E1EC7A, name: Mindaro, id: 403p
  • hex: #E7B968, name: Earth Yellow, id: 405p
  • hex: #D0866D, name: Burnt Sienna, id: 412
  • hex: #DB5D6E, name: Indian Red, id: 419
  • hex: #CE6ABC, name: Sky Magenta, id: 421
  • hex: #9774D3, name: Amethyst, id: 424
  • hex: #AB98E0, name: Wisteria, id: 423
  • hex: #D2AFDB, name: Lilac, id: 420p
  • hex: #838A93, name: Slate Gray, id: 444
  • hex: #513E3A, name: Van Dyke, id: 417
Gelly Roll pens (metallic):
  • hex: #EDECE4, name: Metallic Silver, id: 553
  • hex: #FFD062, name: Metallic Gold, id: 551
  • hex: #F8BEB6, name: Metallic Red, id: 519

This is a special palette that can override a standard Gelly Roll palette on Dark paper/tokens.

Outputs

 

The default live-code outputs are skeuomorphic, each drawn with 500,000 to 1,000,000 circles, while the default live-plot modes use a few thousand simplified lines. Using URL parameters, these live modes can be displayed digitally or plotted. Each token has one default output and includes a total of eight canonical versions:

    • two pen and paper sets (pen suggestions are embedded in the SVG code)
    • four optimization settings to change the line drawing order

Interactivity

 

    • ‘S’ saves an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file
    • ‘H’ hides the signature (patience required in skeuomorphic mode)

URL Parameter Options

 

    • alternate = true / false (switches paper and pens from default)
    • optimization = laps / standard / maximum / anti (changes line drawing order and visual output)
    • skeuomorphic = true / false (toggles skeuomorphic circles / simple lines)
    • signature = true / false (toggles the signature)

Custom URL Builder

The form below can create customized URLs for generating various outputs of “Thread” tokens.

Parameterized URL Generator

      

Plotter Notes

 

    • Please maintain the drawing order (within groups / colors) for canonical outputs – avoid reordering or optimizing.
    • On light paper, you may want to start with plotting the lightest color groups first to avoid any potential contamination of darker shades on lighter markers’ fiber tips.
    • On light paper, the signature stamp’s legibility will vary with the ink colors used. Opaque inks of similar colors are acceptable alternatives.
    • Physical outputs may differ from digital versions due to pen and paper variability. Plotters have the discretion to use different pens, paper, or multiple passes.
    • For color hex values and corresponding pens, check the console when running the live code.

“Thread” NFTs #0 – #8

These were created by the “Thread” algorithm; notice how different each one is! As soon as a purchase confirms, the token is made, and from it, a deterministic output can be reproduced from on-chain data. Only then does the buyer see the beautiful artwork that the program generated.

You can see these (and all the others that have been created) in the gallery views at Plottables.io and at Sansa.xyz.

Plotted Outputs

Time Between the Lines is Thread Through the Mind is a project released on Plottables.io, which makes plotting the artwork very easy! From the site, there’s a link to plot through saxi, but you can also download plottable SVGs from the live running code. Note that you can pass URL parameters into the live code and plot endpoints on Plottables site! You can use their convenient saxi interface to plot all your “Threads”!

 

These are the four optimization plots of token 0 that I created on an iDraw:

Default optimization for token 0 is “Standard”

These optimizations, from left to right are “Laps”, “Maximum”, and “Anti”.

You might notice that all the lines are in the same places – just the color arrangement is different

The actual plotting experience of these is also wildly different! The “Anti” optimization one literally takes forever…

Optimizations

← Less Efficient

 

← More ‘Order’ and Less Chaos

More Efficient →

 

Less ‘Order’ and More Chaos →

Anti:

Pen travels as far as possible between every line segment, in order to create the longest plot time possible.

Resulting images are ordered, with low chaos in color positions, and are as inefficient as possible.

Laps:

Pen travels one line at a time, from one side to the other, then it turns to draw on the return to complete a ‘lap.’

Results in an image with bands of color, has a lot of order and low chaos, but is not efficient.

Standard:

Pen travel is slightly optimized. Plot duration on this is about the same as saxi’s optimization algorithm.

Results in a slightly chaotic image, colors tend to stay within zones, is moderately efficient.

Maximum:

Pen travels in a custom, maximum efficiency pattern, reducing plot duration from standard by about 20%.

Results in images that have little order, color is not constrained to zones, is most efficient.

Customizable Prints

“Optimization Sweep” prints of tokens will be available for purchase. These will feature all four optimization options arranged in a grid. Plots of the project will also be available, but a “Optimization Sweep” set of four plots on a single sheet of paper is not currently possible.

The following is a digital mock-up of an “Optimization Sweep” print (with signature stamps included, but they’re optional).

Optimization sweeps or large single prints are both available:

 

    • $300 USDC / DAI / Eth (plus shipping).
    • Archival prints on Hahnemühle Torchon fine art paper.
    • Sizes: 20 x 20 inch print on 24 x 24 inch paper.
    • Hand signed
    • A token can only be printed once, for the the current owner only. Check the print history to see if a token’s print has been claimed.