Adam Herst is a Toronto based artist, arts manager, and technology consultant. He is interested in the tension between ideas, their ownership, and their reproduction, and in exploring the proposition that ideas which are designed for dissemination will be disseminated. When Adam isn't creating art, he provides information technology services to arts organizations and other non-profits.

(All works by Adam Herst are licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.)

[Current Projects] [Previous Projects]


But for a long time, our static media, whether carvings in stone, ink on paper, or dye on celluloid, have strongly resisted the evolutionary impulse, exalting as a consequence the author's ability to determine the finished product. But, as in an oral tradition, digitized information has no "final cut."

After all, if your program can’t do anything more than what you could do quicker, better, or more creatively with a physical object, why bother using a computer at all.

When I hear what we call music, it seems to me that someone is talking. And talking about his feelings, or about his ideas of relationships. But when I hear traffic, the sound of traffic — here on Sixth Avenue, for instance — I don't have the feeling that anyone is talking. I have the feeling that sound is acting. And I love the activity of sound...I don't need sound to talk to me.

When we are involved in creative play, we are making something, but the point is not the something, but the making.


Current projects


How to explain pictures to a computer

Sketches in p5.js based on the exercises in Composition: A series of exercises in art structure for the use of students and teachers by Arthur Wesley Dow.

In the space arts there are three structural elements with which harmonies may be built up:

  1. line
  2. notan
  3. colour
These three structural elements are intimately related...

The best plan is to take up exercises in each element in turn; then go back to them separately and make more detailed studies; then combine them, proceeding toward advanced compositions.

(Click on the images to run the sketches. Once the sketch is running, you can click on the image to change it.)

Brush practice

Begin with straight lines, remembering that straightness of direction is the essential thing, not mere geometric straightness.
After some practice with straight lines, try curves.
Then irregular lines.

Ways of creating harmony

Little can be expressed until lines are arranged in a Space...

Ways of arranging and spacing I shall call Principles of Composition. In my experience, these five have been sufficient:

  1. Opposition
  2. Transition
  3. Subordination
  4. Repetition
  5. Symmetry

Opposition

Two lines meeting form a simple and severe harmony.

Transition

If a third [curved] line is added...the opposition is softened and an effect of unity and completeness produced.

Symmetry

The most common and obvious way of satisfying the desire to order is to place two equal lines or shapes in exact balance.

Line

Practice in line arrangment is a preparation for all kinds of art work...

Composition in squares and circles

For these elementary exercises in composition the square and the circle are best because their boundaries are unchangeable, and attention must be fixed upon interior lines.

Composition in rectangles - variation

The square and the circle allow choice only as to interior divisions, but the rectangle is capable of infinite variation in its boundary lines.

Composition in pottery forms

One good way to stimulate invention in composing pottery shapes is to evolve them from rectangles. Curved profiles are only variations of rectangular forms ... . Change the height and a series of new shapes will result.

Landscape Composition

Returning now to the thought that the picture and the abstract design are much alike in structure, let us see how some of the simple spacings may be illustrated by landscape.

Notan

As there is no word in English to express the idea contained in the phrase "dark-and-light", I have adopted the Japanese word "notan".

Flowers

A sketch to explore notan harmonies.

Colour

Color, however complicated, may be reduced to three simple elements:

  1. hue
  2. value
  3. intensity

Webcam

A sketch to explore colour harmonies. (You will be asked to allow the sketch to access your webcam. When you do, the sketch may take a few seconds to start running.)

Composition

Practice in simple harmonies gives control of the more complex relations, and enables one to create with freedom in any field of art.

Tokonoma

A sketch to explore combined line, notan, and colour harmonies.


Previous projects


claude wittman's 2894: Reading of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at MONOMYTHS: Stage 11, 2017. (Performance collaboration. Photo credit Henry Chan.)

drawBot, 2017. (p5.js. Press any key to save the drawing.)

Performance Art Is Like A Kernel Of Popcorn, 2016. (Performance for Margret Dragu's Verb Frau TV at 7a*11d.)

Stop Sign Camera, 2015. (Intervention)

Performance Art Is Like A Kernel Of Popcorn, 2015. (Performance. Photo credit Henry Chan. Legs, Too organized by Fado Performance Art Centre.)

One Thing and Then Another, 2014. (Performance for camera)

Performances by Dead Artists: Karawane, 2014. (Performance)

Timer, Timer, Timer: A Noise Performance in Three Parts, 2013. (Performance)

Does a standing chair think of sitting? 2012. (Installation)

Intersection, 2012. (Performance)

Memories, 2011. (Performance)

Swansong, 2010. ( Performance for video)

The Revolution Will Be Live, 2010. (Performance)

Jon Sasaki's Human Statue of the Spirit of Individualism, 2010. (Performance Participation)

It's Not Easy Being Green, 2009. (Performance)

Sunnyside Mourning, 2008. (Performance. Left to right: Laura Mendes, John Loechner, Adam Herst, Laura Smith. Not shown: Annie Onyi Cheung, Gram Schmalz, Emma Barron)

Annie Onyi Cheung's On Consumption II, 2007. (Performance Participation)