After Even Night

After Even Night takes the viewer on a kind of journey: An endlessly changing view, as if through the window of a train, through a kind of abstract landscape that mixes digital and real life. Stop any time to take a picture. 

Scrolling past in unexpected yet familiar ways, After Even Night illustrates our strange relationship with time and space; how memory makes that relationship less linear and defined, melding one place with the next, merging past and present.

I started thinking about these ideas on a train ride with my young daughter. The passing of time felt particularly tangible. I liked the nuances: of loss and expectation – of leaving one place and time for another – and the introspective journey in between.

After Even Night is mostly in constant motion, but it does pause at times (as if reaching a station) and then restarts, with elements that loop at varying speeds. An ellipsis (the symbol of working or thinking in various apps like discord) perpetually animates on the lower right to indicate that even when slowed to a stop, the journey isn’t over.

Collectors can click on the animation at any time to stop and capture large printable images (download travel pics!) but the journey continues, layering and evolving, indefinitely.

You can check out a live generator here.

Elements

I like making art in a way that’s impossible IRL. After Even Night lets me drag lots of things across the canvas, as I would a paint brush: a transmission tower, trees, bright red hearts (“like” emojis), historical crypto prices (on the horizon)…

Many elements in this piece  bridge the gap between IRL and digital: ring lights, display screens, and in the lower right corner a flickering ellipsis (that ubiquitous symbol of thinking or working in Discord or other chat apps).

Textures

Besides varying the thickness and evenness of lines, most of the texture in this piece – in trees and various objects – comes from QR codes.

Illusion of Motion

I paint each element onto digital buffers and then layer those buffers at varying speeds.

The image below is an example of the buffer for the top layer, the most distant and slow moving layer, that displays a series of data, like historical BTC prices.

And this an example of a buffer for the bottom layer, that moves at a somewhat faster speed.

Colors

The palette for each leg of the journey is dictated by a particular saturated shade of “like” (heart) emojis.

Analogous palette:

Dichromatic palette:

All the various colors of like heart on a monochromatic background:

If you don’t like the current palette of a leg, you can restart the algorithm and get a new one.

Every hour a new leg of the journey begins anyway, with a new palette and a simple composition that gets increasingly more complex.

Simple view at the beginning of the hour
Complicated view towards the end of the hour

Windows and Surfaces

Amongst the multiple windows in this piece – a window onto a landscape, various window frames within the landscape – I’ve added a layer, somewhat like a surface of a glass, that separates us from the world passing by. That surface is clear at the start but gets obscured by a flow field of scratches over the course of the journey.

Left is a snap from an early leg, right from a wind-swept later leg:

Stylized
Chaotic

Every hour, with each new leg, the window is replaced by a new clear surface.

Interactivity: Screen Capture

Although the piece is in constant motion, collectors can create still images from it.  You can stop the journey at any time by clicking the screen. Double click to download a large printable image. And then click again to continue the journey. (Pics or it didn’t happen.) 

The Name: After Even Night

I encountered the words “After Even Night” while researching the impact railways had on time standardization. The words appear here, on a timetable from 1844, before Greenwich Mean Time was instigated, with instructions for converting local time to railway time.

Safe travels — and I hope you enjoy this journey After Even Night.