Hypercollages

The Hypercollage is a novel combinatoric artistic medium of my own invention. Each one is a web-based generative art piece which utilizes a set of illustrations or photographs (or both) which are composited stochastically in real time by a small Javascript program. Parameters to this program can be used to precisely control qualities of the resulting Hypercollage, such as the number of concurrently composited elements or the speed at which they flash by.

View the main Hypercollage index

Check out the code


The original concept of the Hypercollage came together from the confluence of several tendencies in my artistic practice during the fall and winter of 2020.

The first inspiration for this project came from my love for the digital double exposure technique, a methodology which I had used extensively in my Doublevision series of photographs. Through layering multiple images, a new composition could be formed with aesthetic value far greater than the mere sum of its parts. This layering approach allowed for a kind of visual non-sequitur: several unrelated contexts squashed together in a way which made one question how they might be related, forcing the mind into an apophenic mode.

In particular I found the aesthetic effect of this technique was greatest when the two images were blended by taking the difference of their respective pixels’ color values, as this operation best preserved the individual details of the two, and further, resulted in a tendency to invert colors throughout the image, leading to wild psychedelic hues which nonetheless were complementary.

The images in the Doublevision series were composed manually through a tedious process of experimentation. Trying to discover which photos paired well together was a time consuming process, and moreover once a pair was settled on those images were never paired with any other photos again. This got me thinking about the possibility of composing images aleatorically with a program, such that pairing would be left to chance.


Another trend which eventually contributed to the Hypercollage system was an illustration technique which emerged throughout 2020 in many of my drawings. This technique involved the subdivision of the frame into many small sections, with each section then being filled in with a small scene, character, or abstract pattern.

At the same time I had begun experimentation with mixing in collage elements to these illustrations. This was mostly done by cutting specific sections out and then attaching interesting textural elements beneath these new holes.

The modular nature of this sectional approach seemed to me a perfect candidate for applying a combinatorial generative approach. Each section could be cut out digitally and then added or subtracted to a composition as indicated by an algorithm. Thus the idea of the Hypercollage was born, though as can be seen from the various Hypercollages created thus far, many specifics regarding both the physical and virtual parts of the process were refined as I began to explore the medium.