I’ve been studying Zen Buddhism for a number of years and have always had a love for and fascination with, enzos. These are typically, hand-painted scrolls, painted very quickly, after much preparation of paper, ink, and most importantly cultivating a focused state of mind. The resulting painted circular brush stroke is typically done in one fast, uninterrupted flowing movement. There is no intent per se, other than the one who is painting, becomes at one with the moment of the actual painting of the circle. It is also typically, executed in silence.
This digital enzo, however, breaks the formalities usually associated with the traditional hand painted method, by replacing the painter with code, silence with recorded chanting (in this case an excerpt from chanting recorded in a monastery in Japan in the 1960s) and moving the object from a monastic, physical location, to that of the digital realm. The parameters are set by the code (in this case Processing) and once triggered by the accompanying audio, they work in tandem to create an generative, reactive enzo, that never repeats itself. By displacing the act of painting by hand, into the virtual realm of code and audio, this out of context environment recreates itself, endlessly, effortlessly, and yet it curiously retains a painterly quality, due in part, to the configuration of the code, which pushes the reactive coordinates in ever increasing ways, so much so that the application “struggles” in part to keep in pace with code instructions.