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Diary of the Grid: Paint Machine 2.0


— November 2, 2022

I imagine a machine that can paint 43,164 corners, right angles. 10,791 squares 16 mm across — interior dimensions. The squares are separated by a dark, negative-space, which is grid of perpendicular lines 0.795 mm in width rendered in dark violet.

The paint machine would have a lot of tubes.

Perhaps there are two machines, one is a preliminary tape machine that is taping the grid over a dark violet canvas. I imagine this would be the easy part.

The paint machine would have to paint the different colors. Repeating this 10,791 times using real paint colors, using different pigments — and not simply three printer color inks, or four inks, or 12 inks, or 2.5 million LED RGB monitor colors, or whatever ...

... because, in addition, the "real paint" pigments are 3-dimensional, rough objects, nano particles, that reflect light from their surfaces at different angles. Some of those particles are particles of iron oxides intearacting with the Sun, magnetically and electrically.

Electron micrograph








Electron micrograph of brown pigment samples from the Hellenistic pigment production site of the ancient agora of Kos, Greece.
Click to Enlarge. Source: PDF


And there are other metal oxides.

This type of reflection does not occur when viewing printer inks on flat paper, or when viewing flat LED monitors.

Notwithstanding that there is an exterior layer of semi-transparent acrylic across the particles, the surface is not smooth, and less smooth is the interior layers of pigments, which are distributed randomly with respect to the surrounding polymerized semi-transparent acrylic film.

The inner surfaces of particles are especially discontinuous with respect to there being various different metal oxide particle surfaces and sizes, as described in various organic and inorganic chemistry text books.

Some of these particles are particularly induced by the Sun.

Yet, more importantly, these pigments are paleohistoric, predating human consciousness as far back in time as the first fishes.

But now modern living organisms, human sapiens sapiens, are learning how to express these square corners somewhat accurately in their lives.

But not perfectly at all, because none of the human-created corners are ever painted "perfectly" — maybe unless, if ever, they are painted by a machine.


Trying to Paint Better than a Machine

The human-conscious arts race with the artificial paint machine is raging, and getting very hectic. There are many machines out there that can paint, nowadays.

To paint a grid accurately however, with varying pigments, whether based on photography, or on image detection and the processing of photons, remains impossible with a machine after all these centuries.

Even reproducing the color from nature to photography is faulty — take a color photograph of any colorful painting, view the results, and this will be made obvious to you.

The ineraction of light with three-dimensional particles, the grinding of rocks and other objects by humans, over hundreds of thousands of years, is only one reason why this is true.



















Hellenistic Earth pigments from the Koan workshop. Click to Enlarge. Source: PDF


Burn, machine.

Maybe someday but not today. Nevertheless, 'Nice try machine.'

It would cost tens of millions of dollars and significant amounts of machinery and data to create a decent grid painting machine, for example, to paint 10,791 accurate colors, each with four perfect right angles, 43,164 and so on. Check.

A machine can not paint a decent grid. This seems like a contradiction!

Children and Wild Animals

Did you ever teach a young child to paint a grid? If you try, it will not work out. 

How about wild animals? Can wild animals paint a grid?

SPOILER ALERT: Wild animals have not yet been known to paint grids.


Character Antithesis Grid

There is a whole inner life to the grid.

The entire scope of painting is the spectrum between total abstraction and painting the grid.

The grid is very painful and maddening, but it exists. It therefore must be explored, and reckoned with, painted.

Confront the grid.

"There is something of incredible meaning in the grid. But the machine doesn't care. Confront it."

— The Cult of the Grid, November 2, 2022 [11.02.2022]




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