Arc Drawings

Sep 26, 2010 | News, Rhino, Watz work

I’m working on a new series of three drawings titled “Arc Drawings”, made using a plotter technique that I’ve never tried before. The machine is not technically a plotter, it’s actually Studio Mode’s CNC cutting machine which they typically use for completely different purposes. But it can be fitted with a pen instead of a knife, and so doing some plotter drawings seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up.

I’m excited by the chance to continue exploring machine-assisted line drawing, which for me started with the Grid Distortion series. Just as the laser comes with its own material effects, the CNC cutter add some nice qualities to the drawn lines. In order to produce smooth motion the machine accelerates and decelerates at the start and end of every path, which causes a slight ink pooling at the extremes of the line. The drawings will be made on styrene sheets rather than paper, so the ink does not diffuse into the drawing surface.

My thanks to Studio Mode for letting me play with their machine and helping with fabrication. We’re planning to team up and do a workshop together later this year, as part of the great series of ModeLab workshops they’ve been doing dealing with issues in digital fabrication. I look forward to working with them and maybe hook Processing up to Rhino and Grasshopper for some parametric mayhem.

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Announce: NODE10 – Forum for Digital Arts

Jul 4, 2010 | Links, News, Processing / Java, Watz work

The NODE crew from Frankfurt has announced the followup to their successful NODE08 festival. I will be co-curating the NODE10 exhibition with Eno Henze, a collaboration I think will have some interesting results.

NODE10 - Logo

November 15-20, 2010
Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany

The purpose of the inter-media forum is to facilitate a cross-border exchange between interactive media, digital art and generative design. The ‘NODE – Forum for digital Arts’ emerged in 2008 from an initiative of developers and users of the programming language vvvv, which is mostly used to create artistic and creative software projects. But NODE is more than just a large-scale vvvv user meeting, the NODE – Forum for Digital Arts gathers people working across the disciplines of applied and artistic media in a week-long event.

The focus of this years NODE10 is the investigation of cultural consequences of a post-industrialised, technological society. The exhibition ‘abstrakt Abstrakt’ thus deepens the discourse surrounding technology and society. Participants look into the subjects through workshops and talks combined with subsequent symposiums and live performances.

NODE10 – Official site
NODE10 on Facebook
NODE10 on Twitter

Call for Entries

Deadline: 31.08.2010

This year you are definitely invited to participate the NODE Forum for Digital Arts again. So don´t hesitate and send us your work, which could be from screen to wall to everything. Please send us your proposal including the following information:

– detailed contact information
– title of your work
– context of creation (personnal project, schoolwork, professional)
– description of your work
– duration, resolution, sizes, tech rider
– screenshots, photographs

only as pdf to: (subject: submission)

For all other materials please send your documents to:

NODE – Forum for Digital Arts
Niddastrasse 84hh, 60329 Frankfurt, Germany

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Video: Bridge Hypothesis (sketch)

Oct 1, 2009 | News

A collection of early sketches for a new piece, titled “Bridge Hypothesis”. It looks at the the bridge as a spatial stereotype, deconstructing it into formal expressions. This video was compiled from Quicktimes I saved as I iteratively experimented with and improved the code. I like that you can see the spontaneous evolution from a primitive wireframe representation, to increasingly stylized forms that reference the bridge as spatial stereotype but clearly have abandoned all regard for gravity.

I am making this piece for “Bright Nights”, an evening of projections on the anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO on October 7th. The event is part of a program of events in connection with the Centennial celebration of the bridge.

Bright Nights will feature the works of myself, Burak Arikan, Motomichi Nakamura and Lee Wells. The event is curated by Christina Vassallo. Practical details follow:

  • October 7, 2009 / 7pm – 10pm
  • Manhattan Bridge Anchorage, Front & Adams Street side in DUMBO, Brooklyn
  • The event is free and open to public.

See the Random Number site for more details about the other artists.

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Nokia E71: Beautiful Connections

Feb 28, 2009 | Processing / Java, Software, Watz work

Beautiful Connections: Mobile artwork for Nokia E71

Beautiful Connections: Mobile artwork for Nokia E71 (see

I recently had the privilege of being commissioned by Wieden + Kennedy to creating an artwork for Nokia’s new smartphone E71. It’s a new model featuring a full QWERTY keyboard, and is intended to function as a complete communication platform for people on the move. As a response to this purpose, W+K’s campaign focused on the idea of “Beautiful Connections”.

My contribution was a mobile app that allows the user to type in a short SMS-style message, which is then used as the basis for a generative animation that results in a visual compositions of curling forms. The final image can then be sent to other users as a MMS or saved to the phone memory for use as a wallpaper.

Technically it was a challenge to get all the different functions to come together in a single coherent application. The project was developed as a pure J2ME app based loosely on an old version of Mobile Processing. To get a smooth rendering style I chose to use the JSR-226 API for Scalable Vector Graphics, which allowed for properly anti-aliased drawings at the cost of a lower frame rate (approx 7 FPS). Standard J2ME graphics would have given 20 FPS, but the final result would have been less attractive.

All interface elements (menus, text input fields and contact information menu) were built from scratch to avoid the lo-tech feel of the default J2ME UI elements. This required quite a bit of work, but it would have been silly to break the organic feel of the application by using the native phone UI. Instead, the decision was made to make the app feel like a completely upgraded experience. This goal was finally achieved through liberal use of transparent PNGs and old school pixel font trickery.

Beautiful Connections: Animation demo

Visit to see the campaign and download the application (it’s free!) Make sure to also check out the four excellent videos produced by Carl Burgess, Universal Everything, Field and SHFT. To complete the Beautiful Connections concept the web site also features an interactive message generator built in Flash that allows you to create images using live sound and web cam input.

My thanks to the Wieden + Kennedy crew for inviting me to do this project, in particular to Sermad Buni and Louis-Philippe Tremblay for their excellent support. My thanks also to Nokia for having the vision of wanting artworks on their phones. Now, if only Apple would create a category for art on their App Store…

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Conical prints

Feb 1, 2009 | Processing / Java, Watz work

Conical01 0009 Lo

Marius Watz: Conical (prints released on Cronica Electronica)

I just completed a new series called Conical, which was initiated as an artwork for the Cimatics festival but never used. So when Miguel Carvalhais from the Cronica Electronica label asked if I would do a cover for Morten Riis’ Digital Sound Drawings, I was happy to have a chance to bring the project to a good conclusion.

In addition to the cover artwork for the album (released as a downloadable rather than as a physical CD), we are releasing a series of 10 limited Conical prints as part of the Cronica Limited series:

Conical is an investigation of a 3D form composed of lines that trace out segments of multiple cones. Seen at a distance, the form becomes a spatial volume. Zooming in, the sense of volume disappears and the form becomes a 2D surface. The image resolves into a complex pattern of optical interference, without any depth cues to indicate its 3D nature.

The 10 prints are 40×40 cm archival inkjet prints, released as uniques and signed by the artist. The price is a modest €125 per print. You can see all 10 images here.

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Code, Space, Form symposium

Jan 17, 2009 | Processing / Java, Theory, Watz work, Web dev

"Code, Form, Space" symposium 01

Code, Space, Form, February 3-7 at CMU, Pittsburgh

The eminent Golan Levin has just announced a symposium titled “Code, Space, Form”, featuring C.E.B. Reas, MOS Architects, Ben Pell and yours truly. Hosted by Carnegie-Mellon University, it’s a multi-day affair with lectures and workshops, culminating in an exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. It should provide an interesting discussion of the implications of generative strategies in art and architecture.

Here is the info from Golan’s blog, hope to see you there if you’re anywhere within range of Pittsburgh:

I am delighted to announce “Code, Form, Space”, a mini-symposium about generative form and digital fabrication, which will be held at Carnegie Mellon University during the week of February 3-7. Nearly all of the events are completely free and open to the public – and include lecture presentations by such distinguished computational artist/designers as C.E.B. Reas, Marius Watz, Ben Pell, and Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample of MOS Architects. I’m co-directing this event in collaboration with Jeremy Ficca (Professor of Architecture and Director of the CMU Digital Fabrication Lab), the CMU School of Art Lecture Series, and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

More information

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Exhibition: ElectroPlastiques

Mar 22, 2008 | News, Processing / Java, Watz work, Workshops

Akron 001 Object #1 Akron 019 Possible series - Grid distortion

ElectroPlastiques: Object #1 / Grid distortion

I have a new exhibition coming up in Akron, Ohio as part of an artist in residence stay at the Myers School of Art. Titled “ElectroPlastiques”, it is my first ever solo show. Interesting that it would take a show in the US for that to happen, although not really so surprising given that the European media art scene is geared towards festivals. The exceptions are the few European media artists who have found gallery representation, a process that seems to be going even slower in Europe than in the US.

I’m using this show to highlight some of the existing topics of my work with realtime animation, as well as a new direction dealing with physical output. I will screen a series of my generative animations, such as Neon Organic, ElectroPlastique #1 & #2 and Illuminations A. These pieces explore the plastic qualities of parametric software processes, where a single set of rules gives rise to an infinite sequence of possible configurations. The title of the show is intended to refer to the plasticity of digital media.

As a counter-point, I will be showing manifestations of my work in physical formats, where animation gives way to other qualities. My rapid prototyping pieces Object #1 – #3 and new work like the Grid distortion laser cuts explore the tactile possibilities of digital fabrication, while prints like the Packing series go beyond the limited resolution of the screen to explore issues of graphic detail.


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Fabrication @ HyperWerk progress

Feb 27, 2008 | Flickr, Processing / Java, Workshops

We’re making good progress at the HyperWerk digital fabrication workshop, see the new Fabbing @ HyperWerk Flickr group for details.

Hyper0802 201 Martin Fuchs - Polygon form Hyper0802 171 Martin Fuchs - Polygon form Hyper0802 182 Philip Whitfield Hyper0802 003 Martin Fuchs Hyper0802 102 Leander Herzog Hyper0802 095 Martin Fuchs Hyper0802 133 Roland von Tessin

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RhinoScript at MIT IAP

Feb 11, 2008 | AHO, Rhino, Workshops

Danzer tiling

MIT IAP RhinoScript workshop – Danzer Variations

While looking for RhinoScript resources for the Digital Architecture workshop at AHO I found a recent posting of the final projects from a RhinoScript workshop at MIT IAP. It features some very nice-looking work, including the Danzer tile forms shown above. It also provides the source code for most of the experiments, well worth checking out.

The resource page for a previous MIT workshop is still up, it has more scripts and some useful links: Computational Design Solutions Part 1.

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Generator.x 2.0: Public presentations

Jan 23, 2008 | News, Processing / Java, Theory, Workshops

The Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen workshop and exhibition kicks off in Berlin this Thursday. In addition to the workshop there will be two evenings of presentations open to the general public, intended to bring the topics of the workshop to a larger audience.

The presentations will take place at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, which is also the venue for the workshop. If you’re in Berlin I hope to see you there!

Generator.x 2.0: Presentations #1 – Thu 24 Jan, 19:00 – 21:00

  • Keynote: Marius Watz [NO]
  • Boris Müller [DE]
  • Satoru Sugihara – Morphosis [JP/US]
  • Eno Henze [DE]

Generator.x 2.0: Presentations #2 – Mon 28 Jan, 19:00 – 21:00

  • Aram Bartholl [DE]
  • David Dessens [FR/DE]
  • Tim Schork – MESNE [DE/AUS]
  • Skylar Tibbits – Theverymany [US]

See the Club Transmediale site for a full list of Generator.x 2.0 events. Documentation of the event will be posted on the Generator.x blog and Flickr group as it becomes available.

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