double edged sword of similarity

Surely, one of the most frustrating things for artists is finding out about someone else’s work that is similar to your own. Well, not just similar, but a little too similar. It was one of my pet hates at art school, having a teacher look at my work and then say, ‘you should look at this artist called bla bla..’ and then after googling them I’d discover they already made what I had been spending a fortnight trying to construct.

It’s also somehow a good thing as well as a bad thing. Good because you feel like you were at least on an interesting track, at least interesting enough that someone universally known as an artist has been down that path. But bad because in your endeavour to strike out and be original and find a niche for your talents you realise the territory you were aiming to occupy has already had a flag staked in it.

And then you realise that the way the work has been produced is often far better executed than your efforts were ever going to be able to achieve and you really just have to relax and say, ‘well played good sir. Well played.’ And so it is for this piece I stumbled on recently. I had made several iterations of log turntables and they were fairly well received. But they were always a little bit … short of ideally executed. This work, by Bartholomäus Traubeck, is one of those cases where I can only be impressed and calmly sit back and say, ‘well played good sir. Well played.’

The upswing of this sort of discovery, for me at least, is that I am now doubly motivated to continue pushing my practice harder, being more attentive to the fully articulated execution of the idea and to the quality of its production.


info about the work above:

A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music based on the year ring data. Those are analyzed for their thickness and growth rate and are then mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appeareance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.


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One Response to “double edged sword of similarity”
  1. anon says:

    there is actually a few artists out there that did something similar. you can find 2 in the comments of the video on vimeo. nonetheless it seems like you have a very healthy attitude towards that issue. the only way is to go on following your interests, there will always be somebody who has done something similar before.

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