Russ “Rusty” Reed’s first computer was a Commodore 128. “It had twice the computing power of the Commodore 64!” Rusty laughs. “I don’t even remember where it came from…but I knew that if I learned BASIC [an acronym for Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code] I could make it do some cool stuff.”
What cool stuff, you ask? Well, random stuff. Literally.
Rusty had figured out that he could plug a randomizer into one of the programs on the Commodore, creating what he called the Random Art Generator. “Randomness became my favorite thing in the world!” Rusty says with a boyish smile. “I thought, ‘this is great!’ These pixels will just overlap and overlap and then eventually something cool will come out of it!”
Like what? Well, great art for starters.
Rusty was convinced that computer-generated Random Art was going to be the next ‘big thing’ – the next step in modern art’s evolutionary trajectory. First Kandinsky then Random Art. But after anxiously watching the randomizer layer pixel upon pixel for days on end, the results were not what Rusty expected, nor was hoping for.
Put simply, “It could not have been more lame,” Rusty confesses. “I kept waiting for it, telling myself something cool would happen…just one more minute…maybe tomorrow…sometime soon…but no. It was sooooo lame.”
After the crushing defeat of the Randomized Art Generator, what was next?
“The Random Music Generator” Rusty says in near hysterics. “But that was even more short-lived.”
While randomness itself may have been abandoned, the music part remains a central theme in Rusty’s life, and he still uses technology to create. “I use virtual instruments to make music – it is incredible how you can put an entire orchestra on your computer these days. It is so cool.”
Which is to say it isn’t very “lame” at all.