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lava lamps, code & coincidence

programming coincidence - mission impossible?


I am using the coincidence as a main designing technique to create new pattern sets. As you know my aim is to choose randomly pattern pieces from the archive and design something new out of it. With this automatism you should be able to actively participate in the design process.



But in order to achieve the desired goal, many technical challenges have to be taken.

First problem, a computer can't create "real" coincidence. If we take it very serious at this point it's not possible to create a 100% coincidence only by the computer, because it's following logical patterns and everything is quite predictable. But for securing & encrypting digital data random numbers are very important. So I did some research on how real coincidence is integrated in the IT-environment, and found something very interesting. There is a huge company (cloudflare) that provides a service for encryption of websites and web-services by the help of lava lamps. Yes lava lamps!

I'll give my best and explain it shortly. The lava lamps get video-taped, an optical algorithm recognizes the movement of the bubbles (etc) and uses this information, turns it into random numbers and proceeds them into the code. Since this is absolutely not predictable, it's random and secure. Isn't that a great example of something analogue in the digital world?

(If you are interested to learn more about the topic, I have linked you something here. )

I reached out to the computer science department of my university and asked for help. Unfortunately, I couldn't get anyone excited about my application in the running semester, mainly because the creation is very time-consuming.

Anyways, I love the sidenote, so I am planning to use the lava lamps as a reference in my design. I did a small swatch of organic quilting, and a print inspired by the organic lava bubbles.


Let's take a step back. How can I have random numbers? I could throw dices. But I am aiming for something digital and public, but bit more easy. As I mentioned, a computer can create pseudo-coincidence easily. And thats enough for my use, so this is what I decided for. By the help of open source information a random java function was added to my website. I was supported in this, thanks felix! I added the "gambler" where you can push a button and random numbers appear in reference to the pattern pieces. This is how my new pattern sets will be created! I am super excited by the new possibility of participation and I hope you enjoy it too.

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