Art made from emotions, chaos, memories, and nostalgic moments.
— By Sapir Cohen
My background is in Engineering, and Information Systems - the study of systems and structures. I was good at this, but I never really enjoyed it. It was only when I took a course on programming that I found my true passion. Before long I was studying every day alone for a couple of hours, absorbing YouTube tutorials, building programs. Eventually, my talents were noticed, and I was asked by my institution to lecture to students.
I started my generative art journey not too long ago. fx(hash) opens so many doors: it was so fun, coding there with p5js for the first time. Prior to that I never had the confidence to pursue this dream of mine, and I focused mainly on collecting art, and my career as a Frontend Engineer. My first works on fx(hash) were all about exploring and - even though I’m not totally happy with them when I look back - I still love them. They are like the tattoos you had done a long time ago: they might not look that good anymore, but they are pictures of your past, and the paths you walked. I think that my playful style really came to life with the collection Puzzles & Mysteries, which assured me that this is what I really enjoy: incorporating nostalgic elements into my art.
My collection, Pashut, (Hebrew for simple) is truly the beginnings of Balagan (Hebrew for mess). Pashut is also imperfect, but it means the world to me. It was my way to empty my mind: a meditation through the action of stacking simple cube formations. My mind is always full of ideas. Sometimes it’s all too much and results in self-destruction, so Pashut was a form of escapism.
In contrast, Balagan is the result of almost the opposite mental approach, by which I gave my mind the freedom to draw a mess of anything and everything it wants with no limitations. It is a more complex progression in my exploration of cube formations. Whereas the meditative ordering was enough in itself in Pashut, in Balagan the cubes act as containers of meaning and allow me to portray variations of states of mind.
I’m an early 90s kid who still lives in the past. I love those simpler times, when we used to play outside and not online. When gaming meant sitting side by side. Cabinets of cathode ray tube TVs showing football without VAR. When the music scene was Britney Spears vs Christina Aguilera, VCRs and stacked cassette tapes. When your biggest responsibility was keeping your Tamagotchi fed and watered...
I began to draw images of these cultural artifacts which are infused with emotion for me. Then to figure out ways to place these images in the vectors of curated cubes. This was by far the most time-consuming and difficult part of the process. Much more enjoyable was framing my homage to the 90s in the palettes and titles of the collection. The names were picked by my two sisters and I (all of us born in the 90s). You can find our favourite bands, songs, games, TV shows: even years that represent something special happening to us. The palettes themselves are all drawn from, or inspired by, the iconic films and animations of that decade.
Today I work in a super-competitive tech environment, which I both love and hate at the same time. With each passing year it becomes a little harder to remember how it felt when my phone was a plastic brick which didn’t send out notifications every 2 minutes; now it’s basically controlling my life.
My work on Balagan is a recognition of this ambivalence towards the Web 3 era. On the one hand, we are able through coding on blockchains to produce innovative new art forms: distributed, collected, and enjoyed by ever more-connected global communities. On the other, this hyper-connectivity takes its toll on our consciousness; never gives us pause to collect our thoughts, to resonate with cherished memories.
Balagan is my response to this: a generative series in which the ‘mess’ of significance is encouraged to break out onto the blockchain, each artwork a unique set of colourful, symbolic references. Its grid is a digital incarnation of every checkered notebook I had at school which I filled with drawings of rainbows and floral patterns. A harkening back to those classroom daydreams in small squares and perfect diagonal lines, etched onto the afternoon like patterns on a brick game LCD.
It is an attempt to create the scaffolding with which these cargoes of symbolic memories can surface. Sometimes they appear to tremble and rotate, struggling against their framework. At others, they rise and fall almost like waves with a liberating sense of chaos.
I’ve never called myself an ‘artist’, and the term makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. I’m a person who feels free to do what they like - I express myself. Like many of you, I started as a collector; wandering flea markets collecting shit I don’t need, turntables, vintage things... I’m not an abstract artist, as much as I love and enjoy the abstract. I sometimes wish I could make art like that, but I can’t. My work is representational, figurative maybe: people see it and they understand it - they get a feeling... This is my own playful style.
So ‘Balagan’ is my nostalgic effort to unite both myself, and anyone who encounters it, back to a more authentic self. We will never be able to fully capture what is past. To uncover every missing jigsaw piece, and lost block of our lives’ puzzles. But I love the imperfect situation; the flawed, the incomplete. This is a really personal collection, full of the markings of intimate memories. But in each unique mess of images, you may find much that you connect with too. It means so much to me to send this collection into the world to share with you.
- Pick a layout - how the blocks will be placed and the rotation degree.
- Pick the block size and block height (height and size can be dynamic).
- Decide if disorder is applied on non ‘Balagan’ layouts (‘Balagan’ layouts are disordered by default).
- Decide if the layout is divided.
- Decide if there’s going to be missing blocks and if so - show/hide negative spaces, or fill the voids with blank blocks.
- Pick a decoration theme for the blocks.
- Create an array of blocks with the predefined parameters.
South Park|Tamagotchi|It|Britney|Clueless|Pokemon|Tetris|Fusion Tetris|Super Mario Bros.|Crash Bandicoot|Walkman|Gameboy|Hard Candy|Mondrian|Lip Smacker|Discman|VHS|Ren & Stimpy|Daft Punk|Pacman|Y2K|Doc Martens|Monochrome|1992|1995|Cerulean Blues|The Lion King
|Hex color, depends on the palette
Basic|Diamond|Balagan|Blueprint Diamond|Blueprint Basic|Blueprint Balagan
|Different block heights
No|Rows|Columns|Rows & Columns|Diagonal LTR|Diagonal RTL
|Block contains multiple tiles
|Block height increases
No|Bottom To Top|Top To Bottom
One of a kind:
Cassette|Controller|Gameboy|Vintage tv|Vintage radio|PS|Nokia 5110
|Only flat decorations
with Yorks (@ekphrastic_eth)